The Digital Black Atlantic

2021

Roopika Risam and Kelly Baker Josephs, Editors

The Digital Black Atlantic

Exploring the intersections of digital humanities and African diaspora studies


This timely collection of essays about the relationship between digital humanities and Black Atlantic studies offers critical insights into race, migration, media, and scholarly knowledge production. It spans the African diaspora’s range—from Africa to North America, Europe, and the Caribbean—while its essayists span academic fields—from history and literary studies to musicology, game studies, and library and information studies.

How can scholars use digital tools to better understand the African diaspora across time, space, and disciplines? And how can African diaspora studies inform the practices of digital humanities? These questions are at the heart of this timely collection of essays about the relationship between digital humanities and Black Atlantic studies, offering critical insights into race, migration, media, and scholarly knowledge production.

The Digital Black Atlantic spans the African diaspora’s range—from Africa to North America, Europe, and the Caribbean—while its essayists span academic fields—from history and literary studies to musicology, game studies, and library and information studies. This transnational and interdisciplinary breadth is complemented by essays that focus on specific sites and digital humanities projects throughout the Black Atlantic. Covering key debates, The Digital Black Atlantic asks theoretical and practical questions about the ways that researchers and teachers of the African diaspora negotiate digital methods to explore a broad range of cultural forms including social media, open access libraries, digital music production, and video games. The volume further highlights contributions of African diaspora studies to digital humanities, such as politics and representation, power and authorship, the ephemerality of memory, and the vestiges of colonialist ideologies.

Grounded in contemporary theory and praxis, The Digital Black Atlantic puts the digital humanities into conversation with African diaspora studies in crucial ways that advance both.

Contributors: Alexandrina Agloro, Arizona State U; Abdul Alkalimat; Suzan Alteri, U of Florida; Paul Barrett, U of Guelph; Sayan Bhattacharyya, Singapore U of Technology and Design; Agata Błoch, Institute of History of Polish Academy of Sciences; Michał Bojanowski, Kozminski U; Sonya Donaldson, New Jersey City U; Anne Donlon; Laurent Dubois, Duke U; Amy E. Earhart, Texas A&M U; Schuyler Esprit, U of the West Indies; Demival Vasques Filho, U of Auckland, New Zealand; David Kirkland Garner; Alex Gil, Columbia U; Kaiama L. Glover, Barnard College, Columbia U; D. Fox Harrell, MIT; Hélène Huet, U of Florida; Mary Caton Lingold, Virginia Commonwealth U; Angel David Nieves, San Diego State U; Danielle Olson, MIT; Tunde Opeibi (Ope-Davies), U of Lagos, Nigeria; Jamila Moore Pewu, California State U, Fullerton; Anne Rice, Lehman College, CUNY; Sercan Şengün, Northeastern U; Janneken Smucker, West Chester U; Laurie N.Taylor, U of Florida; Toniesha L. Taylor, Texas Southern U.

The Digital Black Atlantic

Roopika Risam is associate professor of secondary and higher education and English at Salem State University. She is author of New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy.

Kelly Baker Josephs is professor of English and digital humanities at York College/CUNY and the CUNY Graduate Center.

The Digital Black Atlantic

Contents


Introduction: The Digital Black Atlantic


Kelly Baker Josephs and Roopika Risam


Part I. Memory


1. The Sankofa Principle: From the Drum to the Digital


Abdul Alkalimat


2. The Ephemeral Archive: Unstable Terrain in Times and Sites of Discord


Sonya Donaldson


3. An Editorial Turn: Reviving Print and Digital Editing of Black-Authored Literary Texts


Amy E. Earhart


4. Access and Empowerment: Rediscovering Moments in the Lives of African American Migrant Women


Janneken Smucker


5. Digital Queer Witnessing: Testimony, Contested Virtual Heritage, and the Apartheid Archive in Soweto, Johannesburg


Angel David Nieves


Part II. Crossings


6. Digital Ubuntu: Sharing Township Music with the World


Alexandrina Agloro


7. Text Analysis for Thought in the Black Atlantic


Sayan Bhattacharyya


8. Austin Clarke’s Digital Crossings


Paul Barrett


9. Radical Collaboration to Improve Library Collections


Hélène Huet, Suzan Alteri, and Laurie N. Taylor


10. Digital Reconnaissance: Re(Locating) Dark Spots on a Map


Jamila Moore Pewu


Part III. Relations


11. Heterotopias of Resistance: Reframing Caribbean Narratives in Digital Spaces


Schuyler Esprit


12. Signifying Shade as We #RaceTogether Drinking Our #NewStarbucksDrink “White Privilege Americana Extra Whip”


Toniesha L. Taylor


13. Slaves, Freedmen, Mulattos, Pardos, and Indigenous Peoples: The Early Modern Social Networks of the Population of Color in the Atlantic Portuguese Empire


Agata Błoch, Demival Vasques Filho, and Michał Bojanowski


14. Digitizing the Humanities in an Emerging Space: An Exploratory Study of Digital Humanities Initiatives in Nigeria


Tunde Opeibi


15. Black Atlantic Networks in the Archives and the Limits of Finding Aids as Data


Anne Donlon


Part IV. Becomings


16. Africa and the Avatar Dream: Mapping the Impacts of Videogame Representations of Africa


D. Fox Harrell, Sercan Şengün, and Danielle Olson


17. Musical Passage: Sound, Text, and the Promise of the Digital Black Atlantic


Laurent Dubois, David Kirkland Garner, and Mary Caton Lingold


18. What Price Freedom? The Implications and Challenges of OER for Africana Studies


Anne Rice


19. On the Interpretation of Digital Caribbean Dreams


Kaiama L. Glover and Alex Gil


Acknowledgments


Contributors