Research

The common thread that runs throughout my research agenda is my commitment to creating and sustaining humanities knowledge infrastructures that foreground Black, brown, and Indigenous voices. As the humanities and higher education face an uncertain future, I draw on my background in African diaspora studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, and intersectional feminism to explore multi-faceted approaches that allow us to imagine new futures grounded in reciprocal and redistributive relationships with our communities. We find glimpses of these futures at the confluences of digital humanities, public humanities, and community-engaged scholarship.

The future of the humanities, in my world, lies not in the work of professors but in the communities to which we are accountable. I put this belief into practice through my research collaborations with K-12 teachers on the North Shore of Massachusetts, in which we explore how technologies can engage students in literature, history, and art; how we can improve students’ data literacy while teaching them about Black, brown, and Indigenous writers and thinkers whose voices have been unheard; and how writing with digital media can empower minoritized students to tell their stories. The results of these collaborations, which have included revised curricula and digital projects, are preparing today’s young people to be stewards of the humanities in the future.

At the heart of my research is the concern that while digital knowledge production has accelerated rapidly in the last few decades, the exclusions and biases that have long shaped print culture — products of colonialism, racism, and patriarchy — are being reproduced and amplified as we construct the digital cultural record of humanity. Representation alone will not address these issues. Therefore, my scholarship examines the methodologies, reward structures, labor models, and ethics of research necessary for more fully realizing the promise of knowledge production in the digital age. Questions I explore include: How do we facilitate ethical humanities collaborations that transcend boundaries between “university” and community”? How do we reframe humanities “knowledge” and “expertise” in ways that recognize that they are not the sole domain of faculty but are distributed throughout communities within and beyond academia? How do we ensure faculty reward systems value interdisciplinary and engaged scholarship and recognize that humanities outputs need not be limited to the monograph, journal article, or book chapter? And how do we best plan for the long-term survival of the humanities in case we can’t rely on the fragile institutions that sustain them? This institution-building work naturally traverses boundaries between research, teaching, and service.

My research agenda is perhaps best understood through five interconnected strands where I explore these questions: digital ethnic studies, critical university studies, scholarly communications, intersectional feminist media, and media and migration. As my books, articles, and digital projects nimbly cross over these categories, together they comprise a series of investigations — at both large and small scales, in multiple genres — of how to build humanities knowledge infrastructures based not on rehearsing the dominant white epistemologies of the Global North but on putting Black, brown, and Indigenous people at the center.

A copy of my CV is available here.

Digital Ethnic Studies

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New Digital Worlds

A book examining the inequalities in digital knowledge production and how to address them through digital humanities methods (Northwestern University Press, 2018)

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The Digital Black Atlantic

A volume at the intersections of digital humanities and the African diaspora, in the Debates in the Digital Humanities series (University of Minnesota Press, 2021)

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South Asian DH

A volume exploring the possibilities of postcolonial digital humanities for creating social justice scholarship in South Asian studies (Routledge, 2020)

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Caribbean Keywords

A digital project featuring critical terms for research and pedagogy in Caribbean studies, comprised of short essays accompanied by curated lists of digital objects

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The Global Du Bois

A series of data visualizations that challenge the intransigent biographical narrative that W.E.B. Du Bois’s investment in decolonization was a later development in his intellectual trajectory

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Additional Contributions

A compendium of my other scholarship focusing primarily on the practices and stakes of digital ethnic studies across multiple genres of scholarly communications

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Critical University Studies

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Insurgent Academics

A book recovering the leading role that African diaspora, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian American, and postcolonial scholars played in the rise of public humanities

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Settler Colonial U

A series of collaborations investigating universities’ ongoing complicity in Indigenous dispossession and genocide and conversations for reparative work

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Labor in the Academy

A collection of publications exploring the challenges of labor in higher education and articulating new visions for collaboration that decenter faculty “expertise”

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Rocking the Academy

A podcast bringing listeners conversations with the very best truth tellers who are formulating a new vision for the future of higher education in the 21st century

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Community Engagement

A series of grant-funded projects focused on developing ethical practices for community-based collaborations and reimagining faculty reward structures

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Additional Contributions

A compendium of my other scholarship focusing primarily on critical university studies and changing practices in higher education that affect minoritized people

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Scholarly Communications

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Reviews in DH

A journal offering peer review for digital scholarship, with emphasis on critical ethnic, African diaspora, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and postcolonial studies

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Minimal Computing

A special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly exploring the promises and limits of minimal computing, which focuses on doing what we can with what we have

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Additional Contributions

A collection of my other scholarship on scholarly communications, with an emphasis on social justice practices, citational politics, and peer review

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Intersectional Feminist Media

Reanimate

An intersectional feminist publishing collective producing digital editions of little-known writing by women in media industries, including Fredi Washington and Josefina Niggli

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Intersectionality in DH

A volume considering the compounded harm of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation on digital data, archives, and methodologies published by Arc Humanities Press in 2019

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Additional Contributions

A compendium of my other scholarship in intersectional feminist media, including digital humanities, social media, gender and digital labor, and gender and globalization

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Media and Migration

Torn Apart/Separados

A data visualization project responding to the 2018 family separation policy instituted by the U.S. government and turning the gaze of migration data visualization on the carceral state

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Visualizing Migration

A series of articles that examine the relationship between data visualization and migration and consider the ethics of data visualization when working with vulnerable populations

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Additional Contributions

A collection of my other scholarship addressing the relationship between media and migration, including the situated nature of migration data and selfie-taking practices of refugees

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