Civic Responsibility

DH emerged from the readings as an inclusive, open, collaborative, diverse, multi-disciplinary, and democratic academic space. This is evident in the projects/sites, which are collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and feature a diverse set of backgrounds and expertise. What stood out the most in the readings was the increasingly political nature of Digital Humanities work, and the ability of the DH community to respond so quickly to larger societal problems, which are now far greater than they were in 2016 or 2019. It was not difficult to observe the sense of social and civic responsibility (discussed in the Debates series) in the projects, all of which apply technical and scholastic DH tools to build platforms, store and facilitate communications that elevate voices less heard.

In TornApart/Separados the entire process of developing the visual tools is detailed on the site, including challenges that the visualization of data and government data in particular presented and adjustments that followed. Much like the Early Caribbean Digital Archive and Colored Conventions Project, TornApart is a collaboration of a diverse team that includes librarians, academics from several disciplines, journalists, and project managers among others. On a side note, it was interesting to see InGen has moved on from dinosaur theme parks but still swimming in morally dubious waters. 

The early Caribbean Digital Archive reflects not only the civil sensibility mentioned above, but also how DH work can challenge established academic practices. By making archives and collections more accessible and moving away from a Eurocentric perspective, this project seeks to “decolonize the archive” through the voices of black, Creole, indigenous and colonized people. Similarly, the Colored Conventions Project highlights the very important role that black women played in nineteenth-century Black organizing, which would otherwise remain unseen. This project is a tremendous and timely resource, not least because it makes this information accessible at a time when many political forces seek to delete or rewrite the black experience.