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The Productivity of Ambiguity
The term postdigital is purposefully slippery. While this makes it a challenge to attempt to introduce the concept , this presentation attempts to demonstrate the intellectual value of working with a central concept which is in-between. Through a historical comparison between the field of the postdigital (drawing on Andersen, Cox, & Papadopoulos, (2014); Cormier, Jandrić, Childs, Hall, White, Phipps, Truelove, Hayes, & Fawns (2019); Cramer, & Jandrić (2021); Jandrić, & Knox (2021); Jandrić, Ryberg, Knox, Lacković, Hayes, Suoranta, Smith, Steketee, Peters, McLaren, Ford, Asher, McGregor, Stewart, Williamson, & Gibbons, (2019).; and Jandrić, MacKenzie, & Knox (2022)) and that of the tradition of the History of Ideas as it has unfolded in the fruitful research environment at Aarhus University in Denmark (drawing primarily on Schanz (2012), Thorup (2019), Sløk (2008), Jørgensen (2006), Rognilen og Kennild (2021)), the presentation argues that the very ambiguity of central terminology allows for the humanities to reach its full potential. Far from engendering unfocused thoughts and works, it makes demands on the practitioners to further focus their thoughts in their particular investigations, demanding a more rigorous intellectual approach than fields of study that lean on the support of tried and true methodology. The presentation argues, through demonstrating this effect in the field of the History of Ideas, that this opens up new avenues of thought and generates insights that a sharper initial focus could not have yielded. Based on these investigations, the presentation suggests a model for balancing between anarchic ambiguity and terminology that frames thought so strictly that ideas die too early. It also suggests practical ways of working as an academic department that encourages such productive ambiguity, through referring to the methods of the department of the History of Ideas at Aarhus University, documented through a series of newly produced qualitative interviews with current and former researchers and students.
References Andersen, C. U., Cox, G., & Papadopoulos, G. (2014). Editorial: Postdigital Research. A Peer-Reviewed Journal About, 3(1), 5–7. Cormier, D., Jandrić, P., Childs, M., Hall, R., White, D., Phipps, L., Truelove, I., Hayes, S., & Fawns, T. (2019). Ten Years of the Postdigital in the 52group: Reflections and Developments 2009–2019. Postdigital Science and Education, 1(2), 475-506. Cramer, F., & Jandrić, P. (2021). Postdigital: A Term That Sucks but Is Useful. Postdigital Science and Education, 3(3), 966-989 Jandrić, P., Ryberg, T., Knox, J., Lacković, N., Hayes, S., Suoranta, J., Smith, M., Steketee, A., Peters, M. A., McLaren, P., Ford, D. R., Asher, G., McGregor, C., Stewart, G., Williamson, B., & Gibbons, A. (2019). Postdigital dialogue. Postdigital Science and Education, 1(1), 163-189 Jandrić, P., MacKenzie, A. & Knox, J. (2022) Postdigital Research: Genealogies, Challenges, and Future Perspectives. Postdigit Sci Educ Jørgensen, D. (2006). Historien som værk: Vœrkets Historie. Aarhus University Press. Rognlien, L., & Kennild, S. J. (2021). De Andre Køn. in Slagmark #83. Schanz, Hans-Jørgen (2012). Hvorfor er idéhistorie vigtig? Baggrund. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://baggrund.com/2012/11/15/idehistorie/ Sløk, J. (2008). Gud, Menneske, kosmos: Om idéhistorie. Gyldendal. Thorup, M. (2019). Hvad er idéhistorie? Slagmark.