Race & the Digital Humanities on the Season Premiere of Left of Black
On many college campus, professors and administrators are grappling with trying to re-brand the Humanities for a generation of undergraduate students who are plugged into the digital world in ways that are vastly different than the analog world that many of their professors were trained in. “Digital Humanities” has become the catchphrase on many campuses as they negotiate this new pedagogical terrain, a space that Patrik Svensson describes as “a rich multi-level interaction with the ‘digital’ that is partly a result of the pervasiveness of digital technology and the sheer number of disciplines, perspectives and approaches involved.”
Scholars working on “race,” particularly within the context of Black Studies, often find themselves in a double-bind with regard to the Digital Humanities. Institutions are often slow to recognize the ways that “race” factors in the Digital Humanities, even as research highlights the ways that Blackness, for example, is palpable within social media, particularly Twitter. At the same time, some Black Studies departments have been resistant to embrace the possibilities emerging digital platforms to do the work that has always been done is these departments.
Howard Rambsy II, Associate Professor of English Language and Literature and Director of the Black Studies Program at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and Jessica Marie Johnson, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Richards Civil War Era Center and African Research Center at Penn State University, are two scholars who are charting new possibilities within the context of Black Studies and the Digital Humanities.
Rambsy is the author of The Black Arts Enterprise and the Production of African-American Poetry (University of Michigan Press) and the curator of SIUE Black Studies. Johnson is the curator of Diaspora Hypertext & African Diaspora, Ph.D.
Left of Black airs at 1:30 p.m. (EST) on Mondays on the Ustream channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/left-of-black. Viewers are invited to participate in a Twitter conversation with Neal and featured guests while the show airs using hash tags #LeftofBlack or #dukelive.
Left of Black is recorded and produced at the John Hope Franklin Center of International and Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University.
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