TALK: The Race for Digitality | Roopika Risam

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At African Diaspora 2.0, Roopika Risam of #DHPoco: Postcolonial Digital Humanities discussed the tension between digital humanities and African diaspora studies.

An excerpt:

“…In the race for digitality, we find ourselves struggling to understand the relationship between our deep investments in discourses like intersectional feminism or critical race theory and digital humanities. The burden of representation falls on us. Our acts of representation should not be bids for power but for what [Barbara] Christian would call the need to become empowered – “seeing oneself as capable and having the right to determine one’s life” (61). At stake for us is not power in the putative hierarchies of digital humanities, rather the empowerment that our work on the African diaspora can effect.

To empower – ourselves, a new generation of scholars, diasporic subjects – we need to embrace multiplicity and the specificities of diaspora. We must answer Christian’s question, “For whom are we doing what we are doing?” (61) to make legible all our scholarship has to offer. This is, in part, a question of method – which tools do we use? We may recall Audre Lorde’s statement “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” which comes up often in critiques of digital humanities, but we must not mistake the master. It’s not digital humanities – it’s the effects of white supremacy on knowledge production. That’s where we are called to intervene. But how…”

Read the rest –  The Race for Digitality | Roopika Risam.

For more on African Diaspora 2.0 Symposium hosted by the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University, click here.

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