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Editors’ Choice: Race in DH – Transformative Asian/American Digital Humanities

By Anne Cong-Huyen | September 26, 2013

I’ve primarily delivered a version of this talk to digital humanities or plain old humanities or language and literature crowds (my own background being in English). Often times it evolves into a joint effort for the panelists to argue for the importance of injecting critical race/class/gender/queerness/ability into dh, but today, my goal is not to argue for just injecting critical race and ethnic studies into dh work or even to DO critical race work using tools and methods of dh, since the spirit of such an endeavor already speaks to ethnic studies work (things like public scholarship, collaboration, interdisciplinarity, process, etc.). For me, and I think for many, if not all of us in this room, anything that we participate in will be infused throughout with our investments to social justice, critical engagement, and also supportive radicalism that comes from our backgrounds in race and ethnic studies. So if we are to participate in digital humanities, to call ourselves digital humanists, we already find it imperative to merge the digital humanities with the historicized and situated knowledge production and engagement offered by the gamut of ethnic studies.

This talk will not try to fit critical race studies to digital humanities, nor even try to define this nebulous DH. I’ll speak briefly about personal experiences as a woman of color in digital humanities and difficulties of entering and participating, but most importantly I want to look at some examples of what I’d consider transformative digital humanities work, specifically Asian American projects, and also the problems and obstacles.

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