Intentionally Digital, Intentionally Black
What happens to digital humanities inquiry when we begin with Black culture, Black thought, and Black persons at the center of our endeavors? How does this shift challenge and expand both the humanities and the digital? What happens to Black and African American humanities research when we lead with the digital? Interdisciplinary inquiry into both the online practices of black users and humanities research focused on black history and culture using digital tools has expanded in the past decade. Too often, this work happens on the margins of established disciplines, boundaries, and paradigms. Rather than arriving at black digital research as an afterthought or a tactic to achieve “diversity”, privileging black theory and black culture in our scholarship can provide alternate paradigms through which to understand the digital and the humanistic. The first national conference of the African American Digital Humanities (AADHum) Initiative at the University of Maryland will explore how digital studies and digital humanities-based research, teaching, and community projects can center African American history and culture. AADHum invites submissions that may include scholarly inquiry into Black diasporic and African American uses of digital technologies; digital humanities projects that focus on black history and culture; race and digital theory; the intersection of black studies and digital humanities; information studies, cultural heritage, and community-based digital projects; pedagogical interventions; digital tools and artifacts; black digital humanities and memory; social media and black activism/movements, etc.
André Brock is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. Brock is one of the preeminent scholars of Black Cyberculture. His work bridges Science and Technology Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, showing how the communicative affordances of online media align with those of Black communication practices. He recently completed a sabbatical as a Visiting Researcher with the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England, and is working on a manuscript on Black online technoculture.