What’s next: The Radical, Unrealised Potential of Digital Humanities

Miriam Posner from her talk at Keystone Digital Humanities Conference in Pennsylvania, 2015

How might the Digital Humanities crirically investigate structures of power like race and gender?

we’re asked to consider what other forms of visualisation there might be for maps for example. Google Maps might seem to be novel even now with the level of detail and complexity, but is still a representation of a spherical surface on a 2d plane, a map in the tradition of empire builders of the past. The example is given of Aboriginal bark paintings, one is of a crocodile but on it is written the names of different types of land, so can be considered a map of a very different kind.

“The Changing face of America” was a grid of faces which when you clicked on an individual person would display detailed info on the person’s ethnicity and background, far more detailed than a simple census description of “black” or “white”. Because of the power structures of race and gender which we have, data gets flattened into over-simplified categories and we need types of visualisations which challenge that.

An examination is then made of several projects which have been challenging these old modes of data presentation.



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