Approaching DH

Before taking this course, I was familiar with how DH has been defined in the past. The introductions I read from the 2012 and 2016 Debates in the Digital Humanities reflected my understanding of DH. The 2019 introduction, however, resonated with me. Digital humanists can come together by “enabling communication across communities and networks, by creating platforms that amplify the voices of those in need of being heard, [and] by pursuing projects that perform the work recovery and resistance.” The sites listed to explore this week follow the line of thinking outlined in this introduction.

I believe the project Torn Apart/Separados is an example of digital humanists contributing to an “informed resistance” mentioned in “Introduction: A DH That Matters.” By mapping and visualizing the financial web that supports and funds ICE, this project attempts to inform the public and bring attention to those affected by federal agency.  

Create Caribbean Projects serves to make knowledge free and accessible to all people. They also build and share digital tools that preserve Caribbean culture and heritage. This initiative is an example of DH creating scholarship of a community for its community. These project help boost voices and experiences not typically addressed. It also challenges the epistemology of the Global North as universal, an idea addressed in “Introduction: The Digital Black Atlantic.”

I think DH can create scholarship for, and give voice to, communities threatened by the reality of the world today. I believe DH can be defined as a field that uses a various areas of study and tools to tell complex stories. The two projects mentioned above are examples of this definition of DH in action. In this moment in time, it important to tell the stories of those silenced and the interdisciplinary nature of DH allows for a more expansive effort in telling these stories.

1 thought on “Approaching DH

  1. Kelly Hammond

    One of the things I’ve come to enjoy about blog assignments is how each of us isolates some unique aspect of the material to which we are all responding. Here, Emily, you’ve helped tease out a line that, I’ll admit, was lost on me the first time around: the challenge in “Introduction: The Digital Black Atlantic” to the universality of the epistemology of the Global North. It reminded me instantly of the intellectual journey that many prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance took, first earning accolades in the temples of white Western thought (often through the disciplines of sociology and anthropology), and then, credentialed and unsatisfied (or unemployed despite their clear qualification or the Great Depression), turning to the Caribbean and West Africa in search of alternative modes of thought.

    I remember (vaguely) even W.E.B. Du Bois describing two distinct epistemologies in his novel “Quest of the Silver Fleece”–surprising given his elitism, and yet not surprising given his “double consciousness.” He distinguished learning from knowing. The former was gettable at school. The second was far less attainable and often harder to get the more of the former you had. Your post makes me want to reread the novel and perhaps dig up some of the work figures such as Katherine Dunham and Lois Mailou Jones did during their grant stints in the Caribbean. Thanks so much for highlighting it here.

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