Approaching the Digital Humanities, Thinking Caribbean Reflections

The readings this week were an introduction to me on both Digital Humanities and Caribbean Studies (I use this broadly and for a lack of a better term) since I haven’t had any in depth experience with either field. I decided to keep my reflections about the individual sites to a top level impression as I’m interested to see the varying viewpoints that are brought to the table.

The Torn Apart/Separados project as mentioned in “A DH That Matters” in the 2019 Debates in the Digital Humanities this project is an example of how the Digital Humanities can be used to ally with activists and create projects that will use data to “amplify the voices of those most in need of being heard.” The project is very rich in data and offers visual representations of the flow of money through ICE in the past few years thereby shedding light on individuals and companies that keep immigrant detention centers running. The three Debates in the Digital Humanities introductions demonstrated how the field has evolved since 2012 – growing from a very new field trying to define itself and what being a digital humanist means (2012), to becoming more established but still wrestling with what the field’s focus is (2016), and currently being able to expand beyond the – albeit very broad – definition of DH projects to partner with outside fields (2019).

The Create Caribbean site has a list of DH projects that focus more on pedagogy and educational materials as opposed to strictly research orientated projects. In terms of the Caribbean, this most reminded me of the section “The Challenge of the Digital Black Atlantic” in the Digital Black Atlantic Introduction. Josephs and Risam discuss the difficulties of marrying Caribbean/black studies and digital humanities, one example which is systematic barriers such as the lack of opportunities to learn digital skills, such as coding, in order to participant in scholarship. Create Caribbean offers the Create and Code program which addresses this issue by fostering digital literacy to students in Dominca and is an example of trying to close this gap.

Finally, The Caribbean Digital did not seem to link to any DH projects (unless I missed them?) but gave descriptions about the different panel discussions. The workshop on Digital Decolonization was presented by two panelists from Northwestern who referenced the Early Caribbean Digital Archive which we also needed to look through. I have to admit, as an archivist, I was most excited to look through this site, however, in terms of archival theories and best practices it left me somewhat confused. This particular site will take longer to unpack for me personally which is beyond the scope of this post. In terms of how it related to the readings, the ECDA is another example of DH pedagogical tools since there are resources for teachers, exhibits based off of the archive, and examples of student projects. I looked through the exhibits and most of the content is based off of Western European materials and wonder how much of the narrative produced challenged the Eurocentric view of history in the Caribbean, or if this is solely based on a lack of available materials.

1 thought on “Approaching the Digital Humanities, Thinking Caribbean Reflections

  1. Ashley Rojas (she/her)

    Amanda, your comment on the Torn Apart/Separados project and how it, “is an example of how the Digital Humanities can be used to ally with activists and create projects that will use data to ‘amplify the voices of those most in need of being heard'” really got me thinking of other projects similar in nature.

    The project in question was showcased in the Technology, Learning and Development course through the Psychology and Education department at The Graduate Center, CUNY. The site recreates the interview process for asylum seekers, where the user (you) are the interviewer.

    The sites instructions are as follows: “The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) decides which asylum seekers may stay in the country. Civil servants conduct an in-depth interview with the alleged refugee. This detailed interview is of great importance. Which of these applicants would you give asylum to? Observe, listen, and decide.”(

    The user is shown videos of asylum seekers (actor portrayals of true stories) answering questions that the user “asks” using tags created from the testimony. After some time, the user is asked if the asylum seeker is eligible based on their story and the requirements for granting asylum. No matter the story, if the asylum seeker is not “qualified” based on the law, they will be denied. Seeing the stories represented in this way brings the system to life for those of us who are not aware of the process.

    There are times when the events you hear about on the news, though relevant, seem to be disconnected from your own world, so much so, that there is no affect that the story has on you directly. These sites, however, break down those walls and bring these issues to life.

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