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A Guerrilla Theory for the Digital
Humanities
Matt Applegate, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English & Digital Humanities
Mo...
“#transformDH is an academic guerrilla
movement seeking to (re)define capital-letter
Digital Humanities as a force for
tra...
Its strongest claim provokes a tactics to
address these issues where Rowberry does
not, encouraging DH practitioners to “p...
The digital humanities have some internal
tensions, such as the occasional divide between
builders and theorizers, and cod...
“The valuation of the guerilla, the
oppositional, the maroon, and the fugitive that
characterizes #transformDH is, as [she...
Guerrillas with Cameras
“In the same year as [Simón] Bolivar consolidated
independence in Ayacucho, [Bernardino] Rivadavia
signed a trick-loan in ...
In this long war, with the camera as our rifle,
we do in fact move into a guerrilla activity.
This is why the work of a fi...
“For [the colonized] there is no compromise,
no possible coming to terms; colonization and
decolonization is simply a ques...
“After the colonization of America and the
expansion of European colonialism to the rest
ofthe world, the subsequent const...
Where Tama Hamilton-Wray notes that Third Cinema
theory, along with Black Feminist theory, “offer ways of
understanding fi...
“The cinema of the revolution is at the same
time one of destruction and construction:
destruction of the image that neoco...
“Guerrilla film-making proletarianises the film worker
and breaks down the intellectual aristocracy that the
bourgeoisie g...
“A long war. A cruel war. Impunity. The price
of becoming men. A people without hate
cannot triumph [...] colonized man fr...
On the one hand, one can read this condition through
its colonial valances--what Nelson Maldonado-Torres
calls misanthropi...
In a decolonial context, this is precisely what Maria
Lugones has termed the coloniality of gender, or, “the
intersection ...
What About DH?
Three points of interest:
1) Offers a historical context in which to think the guerrilla’s partisan charact...
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A Guerrilla Theory for the Digital Humanities

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A Guerrilla Theory for the Digital Humanities - Matt Applegate

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A Guerrilla Theory for the Digital Humanities

  1. 1. A Guerrilla Theory for the Digital Humanities Matt Applegate, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English & Digital Humanities Molloy College @mapplega
  2. 2. “#transformDH is an academic guerrilla movement seeking to (re)define capital-letter Digital Humanities as a force for transformative scholarship by collecting, sharing, and highlighting projects that push at its boundaries and work for social justice, accessibility, and inclusion.” http://transformdh.org/about-transformdh/ @mapplega
  3. 3. Its strongest claim provokes a tactics to address these issues where Rowberry does not, encouraging DH practitioners to “practice digital anarchy by creatively undermining copyright, mashing up media, recutting images, tracks, and texts” (17). The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 http://www.humanitiesblast.com/manifesto/Manifesto_V2.pdf @mapplega
  4. 4. The digital humanities have some internal tensions, such as the occasional divide between builders and theorizers, and coders and non- coders. But the field, as a whole, seems to be developing an in-group, out-group dynamic that threatens to replicate the culture of Big Theory back in the 80s and 90s, which was alienating to so many people. It’s perceptible in the universe of Twitter: We read it, but we do not participate. It’s the cool-kids’ table. William Pannapacker, “Pannapacker at MLA: Digital Humanities Triumphant?” http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/pannapacker-at-mla-digital-humanities- triumphant/30915 @mapplega
  5. 5. “The valuation of the guerilla, the oppositional, the maroon, and the fugitive that characterizes #transformDH is, as [she sees] it, clearly indebted to the legacies of queer theory and critical race studies.” Natalia Cecire, “In Defense of Transforming DH” http://nataliacecire.blogspot.com/2012/01/in-defense-of-transforming-dh.html @mapplega
  6. 6. Guerrillas with Cameras
  7. 7. “In the same year as [Simón] Bolivar consolidated independence in Ayacucho, [Bernardino] Rivadavia signed a trick-loan in Buenos Aires with the Baring Brothers Bank. British banks took over the national banks that issued the country’s currency and, in the name of free trade, their manufacturers invaded internal markets.” Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, Towards a Third Cinema http://documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html @mapplega
  8. 8. In this long war, with the camera as our rifle, we do in fact move into a guerrilla activity. This is why the work of a film-guerrilla group is governed by strict disciplinary norms as to both work methods and security. A revolutionary film group is in the same situation as a guerrilla unit: it cannot grow strong without military structures and command concepts. Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, Towards a Third Cinema http://documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html @mapplega
  9. 9. “For [the colonized] there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization is simply a question of relative strength.” Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Richard Philcox. New York: Grove, 2004. Print. @mapplega
  10. 10. “After the colonization of America and the expansion of European colonialism to the rest ofthe world, the subsequent constitution of Europe as a new id-entity needed the elaboration of a Eurocentric perspective of knowledge, a theoretical perspective on the idea of race as a naturalization of colonial relations between Europeans.” Annibal Quijano, “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America” Quijano, Anibal. "Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America." Nepantla: Views from the South 1.3 (2000): 533-80. Print. @mapplega
  11. 11. Where Tama Hamilton-Wray notes that Third Cinema theory, along with Black Feminist theory, “offer ways of understanding film as a component of a cultural community” (129), Michael Chanan argues that in Solanas and Getino’s own cinematic practice, specifically their work on Hour of the Furnaces, “the film crew needed to operate with a radical conception not only of the content of the film but also of the production process, including the team's internal relations, the role of the producer or director, and of individual skills” (376). Hamilton-Wray, Tama. “Haitian National Identity and Gender in Raoul Peck’s Moloch Tropical.” Raoul Peck: Power, Politics, and the Cinematic Imagination. Ed. Toni Pressley-Sanon and Sophie Saint-Just. 127-149. Print. @mapplega
  12. 12. “The cinema of the revolution is at the same time one of destruction and construction: destruction of the image that neocolonialism has created of itself and of us, and construction of a throbbing, living reality which recaptures truth in any of its expressions.” Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, Towards a Third Cinema http://documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html @mapplega
  13. 13. “Guerrilla film-making proletarianises the film worker and breaks down the intellectual aristocracy that the bourgeoisie grants to its followers. In a word, it democratises. The film-maker’s tie with reality makes him more a part of his people. Vanguard layers and even masses participate collectively in the work when they realise that it is the continuity of their daily struggle. La hora de los hornos shows how a film can be made in hostile circumstances when it has the support and collaboration of militants and cadres from the people.” Michael Chanan, “The Changing Geography of Third Cinema” Chanan, Michael. “The Changing Geography of Third Cinema.” Screen 38.4 (1997): 372-388. Print. @mapplega
  14. 14. “A long war. A cruel war. Impunity. The price of becoming men. A people without hate cannot triumph [...] colonized man frees himself through violence.” Fernando Solanas & Octavio Getino, Hour of Furnaces http://documentaryisneverneutral.com/words/camasgun.html @mapplega
  15. 15. On the one hand, one can read this condition through its colonial valances--what Nelson Maldonado-Torres calls misanthropic skepticism, or a colonial logic that “posits its targets as racialized and sexualized subjects. Once vanquished, they are said to be inherently servants and their bodies come to form part of an economy of sexual abuse, exploitation, and control” (248). Nelson Maldonado-Torres, “On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept.” “On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept.” Cultural Studies 21.2 (2007): 240-270. Printt. @mapplega
  16. 16. In a decolonial context, this is precisely what Maria Lugones has termed the coloniality of gender, or, “the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality in a way that enables [...] the indifference that men, but, more importantly to our struggles, men who have been racialized as inferior, exhibit to the systematic violences inflicted upon women of color” (1). Maria Lugones, “The Coloniality of Gender.” https://globalstudies.trinity.duke.edu/wp-content/themes/cgsh/materials/WKO/v2d2_Lugones.pdf @mapplega
  17. 17. What About DH? Three points of interest: 1) Offers a historical context in which to think the guerrilla’s partisan character and contentious political logic. a) What are the political stakes at work in invoking the figure? b) How does offering a historical context shape our tactics? 2) Complicates the figure’s connection to critical race studies and queer theory. a) The guerrilla, here and elsewhere, is not endorsed wholesale. There is much to critique. 3) This example gives us a different vantage point from which to conceptualize our acts of making. Most pointedly, it marks a distinction to the contemporary turn in DH praxis that grounds acts of making in a European avant-garde tradition—a tradition that rarely concerned itself with decoloniality, gender, or radical difference.

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