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Blog : 9/4 The Power of DH tools

By defining Digital Humanities I found a well-targeted way by borrowing a phrase form “A DH That Matters”. It’s an excerpt that highlights the fact that the website Torn Apart/Separados shows “how digital humanists, scholars and practitioners in an expanding set of allied fields can contribute in meaningful ways to improve different situations and clarify their commitments to public scholarship addressing not simply to public but also to specific communities and the  needs that they identify as most pressing”.

While Torn Apart/Separados visualizes in Vol 1 the transfer of funds within United States regarding the actions of ICE and also the “zero tolerance policy”, in Vol2 tries to provide with an answer in issues that came up during the investigation of additional evidences.

 Such efforts, that have to do with social –political and also economic issues contribute significantly towards to the main scope of Digital Humanities. As the intro of “A DH That Matters “ relates, DH, through visualization and mapping of its projects achieves to impress the audience and also to make them attractive and acceptable as much as possible by the public. This is the only way to spread the word through the dissemination and criticism so that public requires quick responses and respectful answers by the political authorities.The good thing is that, this is being transformed in a powerful leverage of public which includes not only scholars and humanists but also the average citizens.

In such cases of humanitarian crisis, in our modern era the role of Digital Humanities could help effectively towards the direction of what the science of humanities advocates. The use of data through digital humanities approves practically that all the humans who are engaged with different social or educational background and also the new digital technology (coding, mapping, social media etc) could give a significant added value to humanities. That said, both of them could raise awareness to scientific issues in a clear way and mobilize the humans in a different and more interactive way, if we compare it with traditional media especially in cases such as that one that Torn Apart/Separados deals with.

A similar way in which digital humanities could achieve unlimited effectiveness is the example of the humanitarian crisis that took place in 2015 in Greece and Italy due to the war in Syria That  resulted a huge number of refugees immigrants and other asylum seekers who, under inhuman conditions have crossed the Mediterranean sea border using smuggler-provided (rubber inflatable) boats tried to find a shelter in northern EU countries. As a result we faced governments in panic without the experience to tolerate such issues, detention center along the borders with thousands of people and a European Union in front of a big dilemma of how to handle such a large number of people approaching each borders and the same time European countries trying to preserve basic values that were constructed upon Second World War based on solidarity and social state.

Non-governmental Organizations and volunteers from around the world were mobilized through traditional and social media to help on the spots. But Digital Humanities tools could guide through the use of data to the management of aid and transfer the people in a more effective way as well as to reactivate academics, scholars, students and European citizens towards a true solution to integrate smoothly and constructively those people in the European society. Years later it seems that the problem never existed as everybody stopped talking about it once the traditional media haven’t included it into their hot- topics agenda. Asylum seekers keep coming in European borders without a certain plan on behalf of the host European countries. In this case Digital Humanities projects could exert a powerful influence for a wide-European solution. As the data mapping project, Torn Apart/Separados, quickly captured the imagination of all humans and gained national media attention, similar DH tools could also gain potential insights providing an amazing example of how technology can be used to depict vividly a real story.

3 thoughts on “Blog : 9/4 The Power of DH tools

  1. Robin Miller

    Hi again,

    Sorry I hit post a bit too earlier! There is one more project that I was thinking about as I read your post, Historia de Zainab – http://historiadezainab.org/ – which also uses digital storytelling to provide insight and understand to the plight of refugees, specifically from Syria here, and hopefully encourage empathy through this first person narrative. This is a monolingual project focused specifically for a Spanish speaking audience, but the images are still quite powerful and speak for themselves. This strikes me as a great example how we can use digital tools for a “DH practice that is one part of a larger expanded field of socially oriented work—work that is informed by the digital, but extends beyond it.” – A DH That Matters, Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein.

    1. Antonios Liamis Post author

      Fantastic story Robin!
      It is exactly the route that Syrian people do , trying to reach Northern Europe. Very well and powerful illustrations straight to the point .The audience can understand the narrative without speaking the Spanish language necessarily. I lived closely the situation being in Lesvos islands for months and soon I’m preparing a project for that. Thank you for sharing this!

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