Talk: Race in DH: Librarians’ Responsibilities

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Digital Humanities (Winter 2011) published Moya Z. Bailey’s article “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave.” Her title draws on a vital text of feminist history, the collection All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave, edited by Gloria Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith and published by the Feminist Press in 1982. Recently, Moya Z. Bailey put together a Storify of the tweets around the 2013 Critical Ethnic Studies Association Conference (CESA 2013) panel “Representing Race: Silence in the Digital Humanities.” These moments track an ongoing conversation about race in Digital Humanities.


The discussion around race and the Digital Humanities addresses multiple facets of the issue from what kinds of work gets called digital humanities work to how accessible the tools of the work are and who’s involved in creating them.


I’m interested in talking together about the role of librarians (in conversation with faculty and students) in collaboration with/as creators of projects by digital humanists of color and digital humanities projects considering racial justice. Librarians’ responsibilities here seem to stem both from our involvement in shaping the futures of digital humanities and how our resource pages, classes, and orientation sessions say something about what we think counts as the humanities and whose work belongs there.


Within librarianship we rarely talk about how our own identities affect our perspectives, our practice, and our outreach. I’m interested in how we can enact such accountability and engagement in our digital humanities practice. I’m a queer feminist and white antiracist ally in librarianship, teaching, and other collaborations.


It would be exciting to imagine together an ethics for our practice, to share tools and resources we know about, to take a look at ongoing projects (like those highlighted by Moya Z. Bailey or by Anne Cong-Huyen in her post of the talk she gave at CESA 2013 “Race in DH: Transformative Asian/American Digital Humanities,” and more), and how librarians’ ethnic identities and sociopolitical locations are important to these futures.

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About Kristen Hogan

In addition to my general interest in learning more about dh and the collaborations librarians are involved in, I am also interested in dh from a book history and libraries angle. Independent bookstores and libraries have long played a role advocating for the publication and distribution of the work of racially and gender diverse authors. I am interested in what role libraries have in collaborating with faculty and students on distribution within dh.

1 Response to Talk: Race in DH: Librarians’ Responsibilities

  1. Certainly interested in this topic. Brings back memories from working on my MA in a post-colonial history area. Too many good proposals, hopefully scheduling doesn’t force too many hard decisions for what to attend.

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