Decolonizing the Digital Humanities in Theory and Practice

Quelle:: @risam2018 Keywords: Decolonization

Hinzugefügt am 2023-01-20

intersectional engagement with race, gender, class, sexuality, nation, disability, and other axes of identity that shape knowledge production (p. 2)

“Decolonization, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a program of complete disorder. But it cannot come as a result of magical practices, nor of a natural shock, nor of a friendly understanding. Decolonization, as we know, is a historical process: that is to say it cannot be understood, it cannot become intelligible nor clear to itself except in the exact measure that we can discern the movements which give it historical form and content.” (Fanon 1963: 36) (p. 2)

decolonization is best understood not as a temporal event but as a process. Moreover, it is a process that can only be understood through study of the intellectual, historical, and political dimensions that constitute it (p. 3)

The existence of colonization relies on not only ongoing occupation of land but also occupation of regimes of knowledge erected to maintain and legitimate such occupation. (p. 3)

colonialism entails erasure of knowledge, belief, ways of being, and archives. It requires instantiation of structures like law, citizenship, and nationality that locate the colonizer at its center. Moreover, colonialism is not circumscribed by its temporal limits. Neo-colonialism—the control of a formerly colonized state from the outside via the operations of capitalism—demonstrates how legacies of colonialism persist after decolonization. (p. 3)

the question of the relationship between theory and practice…surrounds digital humanities, the two have been variously pitted against each other, seen as complementary, and described as interdependent (p. 5)

Definitions of digital humanities can only be forged by centering the local and displacing the global. Local differences in practices may be best understood through the framework of “accents”—united in a larger system but unique at the level of the local (Risam 2016). (p. 5)

postcolonial studies derives from continental European philosophy—not the local concerns of the people it purports to represent (Chibber 2013) (p. 6)

Nevertheless, the tendency of postcolonial studies toward selfcritique and its insistence on foregrounding the particular over the universal—that is to say, the local over the global—keeps alive the possibility of using it in spite of its British or Eurocentric framing; the act of contesting its possibilities for critique are themselves productive and perhaps even transformative. (p. 6)

Emphasis on the local—a directive of postcolonial studies—demands acknowledgment that there is not a single world or way of being within the world but rather a proliferation of worlds, traditions, and forms of knowledge. These multiplicities only constitute a global dimension insofar as the global is itself diverse and only understood through local particularities. (p. 6)

Open Access The idea that information wants to be free has been an influential one in digital humanities, privileging open access to knowledge. Yet, this approach to knowledge is grounded in epistemologies of the Global North. Presuming that freedom of information is a global phenomenon elides the cultural practices of Indigenous communities and the Global South, which often have their own cultural protocols for knowledge transmission. (p. 7)

Such examples avail themselves to the transformative possibilities of technology while calling attention to the ways that they resist easy answers or simple solutions to the ongoing effects of colonialism and neo-colonialism on the production of knowledge. They embrace the hybridity, plurality, contradiction, and tension that are necessary strategies of decolonization. (p. 8)