Intersectionality in Digital Humanities

Photo of the cover of Roopika Risam's book New Digital WorldsIntersectionality in Digital Humanities, which I co-edited with Barbara Bordalejo, was published by Arc Humanities/Amsterdam University Press in 2019.

The volume originated in the Intersectionality in Digital Humanities conference arranged by Bordalejo at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium in October 2016. The volume intervenes in emerging scholarly conversations about the value of intersectional feminist thought for digital humanities by examining the add-and-stir model of diversity often misguidedly deployed in digital humanities, the hidden histories of intersectionality within digital scholarship, and the growing community of scholars putting intersectionality at the forefront of digital research methods in the humanities. We further shed light on difficult conversations about equity and justice in digital humanities practices by considering the challenges faced by scholars because of their identities and the foci of their scholarship, as well as the structural barriers within digital humanities professional communities. What the volume offers is not a final statement on intersectionality in digital humanities but a contribution to the beginning of a critical scholarly conversation.

Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the late 1980s, intersectionality makes the case that dimensions of identity, such as gender and race, cannot be understood in isolation from each other because they work together to shape lived experience. As digital humanities has expanded in scope and content, questions of how to negotiate the overlapping influences of race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and other dimensions that shape data, archives, and methodologies have come to the fore. Taking up these concerns, our volume explores their effects on the methodological, political, and ethical practices of digital humanities. Essays examine intersectionality from a range of positions: the influence of overlapping identities on scholars within the digital humanities community; how the fields in which they work are subject to competing tensions created by intersecting power structures within digital humanities and academia; and the methodological possibilities and scholarly potential for intersectionality as a framing theory in digital humanities scholarship.

Contributors include: Moya Bailey, Kimberley Beasley, Barbara Bordalejo, Kyle Dase, Vera Fasshauer, Dorothy Kim, Amalia S. Levi, Daniel O’Donnell, Roopika Risam, Peter Robinson, and Adam Vázquez.

Link: Intersectionality in Digital Humanities