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.