Session proposal: Teaching race and colonialism with digital humanities

I’d love to help create a session around the role of the digital humanities in scholarship & teaching about race and colonialism (and gender, sexuality, and indigeneity, among other things). How might new technologies help or hinder teaching about violent, complicated histories & presents? I’m asking this as an Ethnic Studies scholar and teacher who has encountered a number of challenges specific to teaching and sharing research about issues that can be contentious and uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, whether I’m teaching undergraduates, researching or collaborating with colleagues.

There are a number of issues we might be able to help each other think through. For one, how we might think about using visual media/tech in teaching and scholarship? Digital media can be very effective in allowing you to use and interact with images, for example. But at times visually portraying issues of race and colonialism might further victimizing a community. Or there might simply not be any easy visualization of your point. After all, what kind of clip art or symbols can you use to illustrate racism and colonialism? What are effective uses of blank space or non-visual media, instead? In teaching, I’ve tried out a few different things with Prezi, using features like zooming to highlight what photos don’t show or to link opposing representations. I’d love to hear what others might do regarding images and digital media.

Another thing we might address are how to handle racist, public comments on academic blogs/social media you author, as well as on blogs/media you ask your students to create. I’d love to have my classes use Twitter and blogs but I feel I’ll need to provide extra support regarding the kinds of responses they might receive, as I will be asking them to write about issues that are often threatening to the mainstream. Are there resources out there that might address how to give this support? Can we work to make such a resource at THATCamp?

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About marvin

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. In 2012-13, I will be the Charles Eastman fellow in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. As mentioned above, my research is about science, settler colonialism, and race, with particular reference to Native Hawaiians and Indigenous Pacific Islanders. My work is especially oriented by Native feminist theories. I am using Scrivener and Zotero to write my dissertation. I would like to be better at tweeting.