Gregory Crane: June 1914 and Philology for the 21st Century
On the sidelines of the workshop about text-reuse (see http://biblindex.hypotheses.org/1686) held from June 2 to 4,
Gregory Crane, head of the Perseus Project at Tufts University, holder of The Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig which launched the Open Philology Project, gave a public lecture on Tuesday, 3rd June 2014 at the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée in Lyon.
We are approaching the one hundred year anniversary of the First World War. Philology was never more prestigious than it was a century ago but what what, if anything, did it do to counteract the threads of nationalism that led to the disasters of the twentieth century? Far as Europe has come a hundred years later, the vast majority of those who engage with historical languages such as Greek and Latin are secondary school students – at least 3 million of them across Europe – who experience these languages in their national languages and in isolation from their counterparts across linguistic, if not national, boundaries. We are, however, now poised to develop a new philology, one optimized for a global society, with editions designed to serve many linguistic and cultural communities. Digital technologies provide enabling mechanisms for this new philology but a global philology requires as well a new conception of the relationship between professionalized scholarship and human society, both within Europe and beyond. We have many technological opportunities but the major task before us to assess what sort of scholarly community we wish to support. We have a chance to develop a global republic of letters, one that fosters a true dialogue across civilizations but we must make decisions in the present if we are to pursue changes in the future. This talk goes over possibilities and challenges involved.