Archives and Digital Humanities (DH) projects that showcase minority voices can disrupt the mainstream perceptions of history and the literary canon; yet all too often, large-scale DH projects and archives reinforce Western epistemology and ontology. In response, some postcolonial and feminist scholars have approached DH from the margins of cultural and political life in order to encourage DH scholars to create and adopt methodologies that engage decolonial theory. Such methodologies consider how digital scholarship frames knowledge and knowledge-production. While national archives help to structure knowledge through a state-sanctioned narrative, decolonial DH methodologies seek to address the silences not only in digital scholarship, but also in the official archive.
Drawing on Women of Color (WOC) theory such as Chela Sandoval’s Methodology of the Oppressed (2000), I discuss the digital implications and applications of “oppositional consciousness” and Affect theory. In this talk, I focus on the emerging US Latina/o Digital Humanities initiative at the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project (aka “Recovery”) in order to examine structural colonial problems encountered in US Latina/o DH and the stakes of digital decolonial praxis.
Dr. Lorena Gauthereau is the CLIR-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) where she works on data curation and is helping to create the first digital humanities center focused on US Latinx studies. There, she leads and collaborates on digital humanities projects and programming. This includes: launching a digital archive for selected recovered collections, creating metadata for postcustodial Latinx collections, organizing a digital humanities reading group with workshops, and creating the “Are We Good Neighbors?” project, which maps incidents of discrimination against Mexican Americans in Texas during the 1940s, using affidavits from the Alonso S. Perales Collection. Previously, she worked as the Americas Studies Researcher at Rice University’s Humanities Research Center on the Our Americas Archive Partnership, a digital project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Gauthereau is the 2015 recipient of the Western Literature Association’s Louis Owens Award and her dissertation was awarded the Chair’s Prize for Best Dissertation in the English Department. Gauthereau received her PhD from Rice University in English literature. Her research interests include Chicana/o literature, Chicana feminism, affect theory, class analysis, decolonial theory, and the digital humanities. Her current book project on working-class Mexican-American literature interrogates race and class in their intersection with affect, taking into account the greater history of colonialism in the Americas.