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Race and the Digital Humanities: An Introduction
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Race and the Digital Humanities: An Introduction



Slides from webinar on "Race and the Digital Humanities," given by Adeline Koh held by NITLE on November 16, 2012: http://www.nitle.org/live/events/151-race-and-the-digital-humanities-an-introduction

Slides from webinar on "Race and the Digital Humanities," given by Adeline Koh held by NITLE on November 16, 2012: http://www.nitle.org/live/events/151-race-and-the-digital-humanities-an-introduction



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  • ⁃Going to talk about: some genealogies of the discussion of race and the "digital humanities"\n Important topics/issues raised by people in this field\n Recovery (DH, part of 1990s American Studies recovery movement) \n Introducing assumptions about tools/code (Software studies, Platform studies, Critical Code Studies) \n Access (more new media) \n Survey a few Race/DH projects and how people deal with these issues\n End: with list of resources & Q&A \n\n
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  • ⁃Name switched from 'humanities computing" to "digital humanities"\n origins of term, as is catalogued in many of the essays in the Debates on DH edited volume by Matt Gold, is in a conversation between John Unsworth, founding director of Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at UVa, who in conversation with Andrew McNeillie, original acquiring editor for Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities, suggested the term "Digital Humanities" to replace the proposed title "Companion to Humanities Computing." Happened in 2001\n
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  • Another area: Geo-spatial Mapping, eg. Visualizing Emancipation Project from U of Richmond\n\nVisualizing Emancipation is a map of slavery’s end during the American Civil War. It finds patterns in the collapse of southern slavery, mapping the interactions between federal policies, armies in the field, and the actions of enslaved men and women on countless farms and city blocks. It encourages scholars, students, and the public to examine the wartime end of slavery in place, allowing a rigorously geographic perspective on emancipation in the United States.\n
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  • Liu: “We digital humanists develop tools, data, metadata, and archives critically; and we have also developed critical positions on the nature of such resources (e.g., disputing whether computational methods are best used for truth-finding or, as Lisa Samuels and Jerome McGann put it, “deformation”). But rarely do we extend the issues involved into the register of society, economics, politics, or culture in the vintage manner, for instance, of the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). How the digital humanities advance, channel, or resist the great postindustrial, neoliberal, corporatist, and globalist flows of information-cum-capital, for instance, is a question rarely heard in the digital humanities associations, conferences, journals, and projects with which I am familiar. Not even the clichéd forms of such issues–e.g., “the digital divide,” “privacy,” “copyright,” and so on–get much play." \n
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  • Bailey's words highlight the importance of issues of representation and access in the production of DH tools and projects, which I will elaborate upon in the next section. \n
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  • http://vos.ucsb.edu/\n
  • http://www.adelinekoh.org/blog/2012/03/04/addressing-archival-silence-on-19th-century-colonialism-part-1-the-power-of-the-archive/\n
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  • Software Studies series at MIT: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/software-studies,\nPlatform studies series at MIT; http://platformstudies.com/;\n
  • Critical Code Studies HASTAC Scholars discussion: http://hastac.org/forums/hastac-scholars-discussions/critical-code-studies\n
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  • Video of McPherson’s talk: http://thoughtmesh.net/publish/380.php\n
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  • http://miriamposner.com/blog/?p=1135\n
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Race and the Digital Humanities: An Introduction Presentation Transcript

  • 1. RACE AND THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES Adeline Koh, Duke University & Richard Stockton College @adelinekoh, #racedh 1
  • 2. @adelinekoh, #racedhTALK OUTLINE 2
  • 3. @adelinekoh, #racedh JOIN OUR GOOGLE DOC!• #TransformDH google doc: http://bit.ly/SPvSBw• Addyour name, Twitter name, and project description (if you want) 3
  • 4. @adelinekoh, #racedh NOTE:•Many intersections with gender, queer studies, disabilitystudies with DH•But this presentation will generally focus on issues ofrace and ethnicity•Also meant as an introduction to the fields of both thedigital humanities, as well as how race/ethnicityintersects with “DH” 4
  • 5. @adelinekoh, #racedh TALK OUTLINEGenealogies of Race and the Digital Humanities 5
  • 6. @adelinekoh, #racedh1. GENEALOGIESRace and the Digital Humanities 6
  • 7. @adelinekoh, #racedh WHAT ARE THE ‘DIGITAL HUMANITIES’?• Old name= “Humanities Computing” • Changed to “digital humanities” in the process of publishing Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities• Matt Kirschenbaum: "At its core, then, digital humanities is more akin to a common methodological tool than an investment in any one specific set of texts or even technologies." 7
  • 8. @adelinekoh, #racedh WHAT ARE THE ‘DIGITAL HUMANITIES’?• “DH”= using digital tools to enhance/transform traditional humanities• E.g. of such tools/processes: Text-mining • Humanities scholars are used to ‘close reading’ to find patterns across texts • DH has taken this to “text-mining,” or “machine-reading”, using programs searching for patterns across large volumes of text • Humans are good at detecting many occurrences of X in a text, or few. Machine-reading can allow u to detect more uncommon numbers 8
  • 9. @adelinekoh, #racedh WHAT ARE THE ‘DIGITAL HUMANITIES’?• “Distant Reading” (Moretti)• Tool example: Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/),generates ‘word clouds’ from text you provide 9
  • 10. @adelinekoh, #racedhWHAT ARE THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES? Text-Mining example: Google Ngrams 10
  • 11. @adelinekoh, #racedhWHAT ARE THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES?Text-Mining example: Voyeur Tools voyeurtools.org 11
  • 12. WHAT ARE THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES? Visualizing Data, e.g. Geospatial Mapping 12
  • 13. @adelinekoh, #racedh WHAT IS ‘NEW MEDIA STUDIES’?Study of “new media” (television, Internet culture, social media, blogs,videos, games etc.) & how they represent/create new cultural forms 13
  • 14. @adelinekoh, #racedh‘NEW MEDIA’ STUDIES & RACE Established field from 1990s-early 2000s 14
  • 15. @adelinekoh, #racedh ‘NEW MEDIA’ AND RACEUsually characterized in 1990s-2000s as the ‘digital divide’ framed by questions of access, class, race 15
  • 16. @adelinekoh, #racedh ‘NEW MEDIA’ STUDIES & RACEAlondra Nelson (@alondra) & Thuy Linh N. Tu, Technicolor (2001)-- how did people of color actually use technology? 16
  • 17. @adelinekoh, #racedh ‘NEW MEDIA’ STUDIES & RACELisa Nakamura’s (@lnakamur) work--Internet has led to an increase in radicalizing discourses rather than being an 17
  • 18. @adelinekoh, #racedhDH AND RACE More recent a debate? 18
  • 19. @adelinekoh, #racedh ALAN LIU“Where is cultural criticism in the digital humanities?” 19
  • 20. @adelinekoh, #racedh #TRANSFORMDH Collective started at 2011 ASA,followup workshop on “Marginal Knowledges” in 2012 20
  • 21. @adelinekoh, #racedh THATCAMP THEORY Organized by Natalia Cecire (@ncecire), Rutgers 2012Bringing to forefront: how theory relates to practice in the digital humanities 21
  • 22. @adelinekoh, #racedh MOYA BAILEY(@moyazb) “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave” 22
  • 23. @adelinekoh, #racedh TALK OUTLINEMoving on to Part 2: Important Issues in Race & DH 23
  • 24. @adelinekoh, #racedhRACE AND DH Central Issues 24
  • 25. @adelinekoh, #racedhREPRESENTATION/ ‘RECOVERY’• Relatesto the ways people • 1990s--many DIY ‘recovery’ of color and their cultural projects about people of productions are represented color and their works on the Internet • But: problem with• Amy Earhart (@amyeetx), preservation “Can Information be Unfettered? Race and the new Digital Humanities Canon?” 25
  • 26. @adelinekoh, #racedhVOICE OF THE SHUTTLE Many broken links in “Minority Studies”-- what has happened to these projects? 26
  • 27. @adelinekoh, #racedh ARCHIVAL SILENCES- I note in my 2 blog posts onarchival silence that problemof global recovery is a lotlarger- There is a large gap of worksby people of color in the 19century archive 27
  • 28. @adelinekoh, #racedh RECOVERY IN DH• Two pressing issues regarding recovery in DH • 1) Need for funding streams that will privilege creation of recovery texts • Earhart: Of141 Digital Humanities startup grants the NEH awarded from 2007-2010, only 29 focused on diverse communities and 16 on recovery of diverse community texts. 28
  • 29. @adelinekoh, #racedh RECOVERY IN DH• 2) Need these recovery projects to be translatable for tenure and promotion processes, or as dissertation work • Reprises earlier issue of whether critical editions will count as “scholarly” work 29
  • 30. @adelinekoh, #racedhRACE AND DH Central Issues 30
  • 31. @adelinekoh, #racedh REPRODUCING ASSUMPTIONS IN SYSTEMS/CODE/TOOLS• thinkingcritically about ways which charged assumptions about race, ethnicity etc. are replicated in the way we build/use hardware, software, tools• SoftwareStudies, Platform Studies explores this to some degree 31
  • 32. @adelinekoh, #racedh REPRODUCING ASSUMPTIONS IN SYSTEMS/CODE/TOOLS• Critical Code Studies • “close readings” of critical assumptions of code • Critical Code studies website w resources: http:// criticalcodestudies.com/ wordpress • HASTAC group on Critical Code Studies 32
  • 33. @adelinekoh, #racedh REPRODUCING ASSUMPTIONS IN SYSTEMS/CODE/TOOLS• Trevor Owen’s (@tjowens) article dissecting the game Civilization: Colonization• How the disenfranchisement of ‘native’ characters extends to the code 33
  • 34. @adelinekoh, #racedh REPRODUCING ASSUMPTIONS IN SYSTEMS/CODE/TOOLS• Tara McPherson’s (@tmcphers) argument (replicated in the edited volumes Race after the Internet and Debates in the Digital Humanities)-->• UNIX+Racial Structures, post 1950= modular• What does “modular thinking” discourage? 34
  • 35. RACE AND DH Central Issues 35
  • 36. @adelinekoh, #racedh ACCESS AND ACTIVISM• Access: new formulation of the ‘digital divide’ • older ‘digital divide’ (1990s/2000s)= concerned access to internet in terms of consumption • newer ‘digital divide’= access to production rather than consumption, e.g. making applications, tools 36
  • 37. @adelinekoh, #racedh ACCESS AND ACTIVISM• MiriamPosner’s (@miriamkp) blog post• Byprivileging coding, DH (unconsciously?) privileges people who have been encouraged (and had access) to learn to code as a young age/code culture as ‘male’ 37
  • 38. @adelinekoh, #racedh ACCESS AND ACTIVISM• Activism: • How do digital projects, and the ability to create them, open up spaces for activism? • How does one present an activist identity digitally? 38
  • 39. @adelinekoh, #racedh ACCESS AND ACTIVISM• Overall questions • Interconnections/divergences between ‘digital’ and real-life activism • How do digital platforms help engage or silence digital work? • How do manifestations of the new ‘digital divide’ affect the structure of the digital humanities? 39
  • 40. @adelinekoh, #racedh DIGITAL LABOR• Trebor Scholz’s Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory• Argues that social media creates a new type of uncompensated, alienated labor• And brings to light the development of increasingly alienated forms of labor (e.g. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk) 40
  • 41. @adelinekoh, #racedhTALK OUTLINE Survey of Two Projects 41
  • 42. @adelinekoh, #racedhINVISIBLE AUSTRALIANS www.invisibleaustralians.org/faces (@invisibleaus) by Kate Bagnall (@baibi) and Tim Sherratt (@wragge) 42
  • 43. @adelinekoh, #racedhINVISIBLE AUSTRALIANS www.invisibleaustralians.org/faces (@invisibleaus) by Kate Bagnall (@baibi) and Tim Sherratt (@wragge) 43
  • 44. @adelinekoh, #racedhINVISIBLE AUSTRALIANS www.invisibleaustralians.org/faces (@invisibleaus) by Kate Bagnall (@baibi) and Tim Sherratt (@wragge) 44
  • 45. @adelinekoh, #racedhOF ANOTHER FASHION http://ofanotherfashion.tumblr.com/ by Minh-Ha T. Pham (@minh81) 45
  • 46. @adelinekoh, #racedhOF ANOTHER FASHION http://ofanotherfashion.tumblr.com/ by Minh-Ha T. Pham (@minh81) 46
  • 47. @adelinekoh, #racedhOF ANOTHER FASHION http://ofanotherfashion.tumblr.com/ by Minh-Ha T. Pham (@minh81) 47
  • 48. @adelinekoh, #racedhTALK OUTLINE Resources 48
  • 49. @adelinekoh, #racedh#TRANSFORMDH GDOC Join us! Add your name & project/project idea http://bit.ly/SPvSBw 49
  • 50. @adelinekoh, #racedhDIRT BY PROJECT BAMBOO http://dirt.projectbamboo.org/ Provides list of tools according to your project needs 50
  • 51. @adelinekoh, #racedh ZOTERO GROUPJoin us: https://www.zotero.org/groups/117397/ 51
  • 52. @adelinekoh, #racedh BIBLIOGRAPHY“#TransformDH.” #TransformDH, n.d. http://transformdh.tumblr.com/.Bagnall, Kate, and Tim Sherratt. “The Real Face of White Australia.” Http://invisibleaustralians.org/faces/, n.d. http://invisibleaustralians.org/faces/.Bailey, Moya Z. “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave.” Journal of DigitalHumanities 1, no. 1 (March 9, 2012). http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-1/all-the-digital-humanists-are-white-all-the-nerds-are-men-but-some-of-us-are-brave-by-moya-z-bailey/.Barnett, Fiona. “Help Us Transform Digital Humanities.” HASTAC, November 6, 2012. http://hastac.org/blogs/fionab/2012/11/06/help-us-transform-digital-humanities.Cecire, Natalia. “In Defense of Transforming DH.” Works Cited: Natalia Cecire’s Blog, January 8, 2012. http://nataliacecire.blogspot.com/2012/01/in-defense-of-transforming-dh.html.Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. MIT Press, 2011.“Critical Code Studies.” Critical Code Studies, n.d. http://criticalcodestudies.com/wordpress/.“Critical Code Studies: HASTAC Forum.” HASTAC, November 11, 2012. http://hastac.org/forums/hastac-scholars-discussions/critical-code-studies.“Digital Humanities Now.” Digital Humanities Now (n.d.). http://digitalhumanitiesnow.org/.Earhart, Amy. “Can Information Be Unfettered? Race and the New Digital Humanities Canon.” In Debates in the DigitalHumanities, edited by Matt Gold, 309–318. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2012.Gold, Matt, ed. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2012.Klein, Lauren. “When Reading Fails.” Arcade, September 29, 2012. http://arcade.stanford.edu/when-reading-fails. 52
  • 53. @adelinekoh, #racedh BIBLIOGRAPHYKoh, Adeline. “Addressing Archival Silence on 19th Century Colonialism – Part 1: The Power of the Archive.” Adelinekoh.org, n.d.http://www.adelinekoh.org/blog/2012/03/04/addressing-archival-silence-on-19th-century-colonialism-part-1-the-power-of-the-archive/.———. “Addressing Archival Silence on 19th Century Colonialism – Part 2: Creating a Nineteenth Century ‘Postcolonial’Archive.” Adelinekoh.org, n.d. http://www.adelinekoh.org/blog/2012/03/04/addressing-archival-silence-on-19th-century-colonialism-part-2-creating-a-nineteenth-century-postcolonial-archive/.Liu, Alan. “Where Is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?” Alan Liu, n.d. http://liu.english.ucsb.edu/where-is-cultural-criticism-in-the-digital-humanities/.Lothian, Alexis. “#transformDH and Transformativity.” Queer Geek Theory, January 9, 2012. http://www.queergeektheory.org/2012/01/transformdh-and-transformativity/.McPherson, Tara. “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White? or Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation.” In Debates inthe Digital Humanities, edited by Matt Gold, 139–160. Minneapolis: University Of Minnesota Press, 2012.Moretti, Franco. Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History. Verso, 2007.Nakamura, Lisa. Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. U of Minnesota Press, 2008.Nelson, Alondra, Thuy Linh N. Tu, and Alicia Headlam Hines. TechniColor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life. NYU Press, 2001.Owens, Trevor. “If (!isNative())[return False]: De-People-ing Native Peoples in Sid Meiers Colonization.” Play the Past, March 1,2012. http://www.playthepast.org/?p=2509.Pham, Minh-Ha T. “Of Another Fashion.” Of Another Fashion, n.d. http://ofanotherfashion.tumblr.com/. 53
  • 54. @adelinekoh, #racedh BIBLIOGRAPHYPhillips, Amanda. “#transformDH - A Call to Action Following ASA 2011.” HASTAC, October 26, 2011. http://hastac.org/blogs/amanda-phillips/2011/10/26/transformdh-call-action-following-asa-2011.Posner, Miriam. “Some Things to Think About Before You Exhort Everyone to Code.” Http://miriamposner.com/, February 29,2012. http://miriamposner.com/blog/?p=1135.———. “Think Talk Make Do: Power and the Digital Humanities.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1, no. 2 (June 14, 2012). http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-2/think-talk-make-do-power-and-the-digital-humanities-by-miriam-posner/.Ramsay, Stephen. Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism. 1st ed. University of Illinois Press, 2011.Taylor, Laurie. “Giving Thanks and Other Reflections on #mla12.” Laurie N. Taylor Digital Humanities Librarian, University ofFlorida, January 9, 2012. http://laurientaylor.org/2012/01/09/giving-thanks-and-other-reflections-on-mla12/.“Welcome to Project Bamboo Dirt”, n.d. http://dirt.projectbamboo.org/.Whitson, Roger. “Does DH Really Need to Be Transformed? My Reflections on #MLA12.” Rogerwhitson.net, January 8, 2012.http://www.rogerwhitson.net/?p=1358. 54