Whose Job is it Anyway? “Black Digital Humanities”

Kim Gallon notes that while work on racial, ethnic, and national difference is “emerging in the digital humanities,” discussions about “the lineage of Black Studies within the digital humanities are almost nonexistent.” She later claims that “precise definitions of what constitutes the black digital humanities are elusive” and that it is really just “a constructed space to consider the intersections between the digital and blackness.” Rochelle Terman similarly notes that there is an “uncertain relationship between Black Studies and digital humanities.” Terman notes that there are a variety of issues to consider: many Black Studies departments are resistant to new technology; many Universities don’t see Black Studies as part of the “cutting edge” work of digital humanities, and thus come to them last; Universities don’t always see the ways that race factors into digital humanities projects, and see contributions made by black scholars on digital humanities as separate from a more general understanding of digital humanities, “sequestering the distinctive digital humanities projects created by Black Studies scholars”; the stereotype that “Black folks don’t do technology.” All of this works against the fostering of a healthy relationship of Black Studies and digital humanities.

In attempting to construct the relationship between these two fields, Gallon suggests that we turn to “the ‘technology of recovery’ that undergirds black digital scholarship, showing how it fills the apertures between Black studies and digital humanities.” Recovery projects “help to unmask the racialized systems of power at work in how we understand the digital humanities as a field and utilize its associated techniques.” It certainly makes sense to me that we should utilize the techniques of digital scholarship in order to help us recover the role of the African-American in American history. The projects we looked at all help us to see this role. However, I think that claiming recovery projects as the main function of Black Studies within digital humanities can be interpreted as sequestering the projects done by black scholars. If we understand recovery projects as recovering Black history, and we see it as the work and main contribution of black scholars, then white people are potentially free to remove themselves from the work in two key ways: (1) this is a history of black people for black people, and thus it is not my history, (2) as a white person I do not need to, and indeed should not attempt to, do recovery projects that look at oppressed groups, because that work belongs to them. In the former, we see that those who aren’t black are free to remove themselves and their historic role in this history. In the latter, we can see that those who aren’t black may see recovery projects that look at black history as the responsibility of black scholars or they may want to contribute but do not want to speak for the black person or take the work that is being defined as that of “Black Studies and digital humanities.”

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The Black Thought on Digital Humanities

Through Rochelle Terman’s blog “Black Studies and Digital Humanities: Perils and Promise” she challenges issues on Black Digital Humanist and their displacement among the Digital Humanities community. The area that Terman focuses on is Black Studies and trying to convert a part of it to being digital. This is admirable, but because Black Studies or African American studies has only been studied at some institutional levels the past 50 years, my guess would be that it is either neglected or remains “unfixed” if no one thinks it is broken. While other fields of studies thrive, and prosper Black Studies is left behind to play catch up.

However some schools such as CUNY strive to make the unreachable reachable for people of color in Digital Humanities. I think it’s brilliant that they are digitizing racial violence and injustice that date back over a hundred years. The Grassroots project at CUNY is what I find most intriguing. They are not looking for people who are actual experts in this field to the actual digitizing but they are letting people of all different background do the digitizing, which in my opinion only makes the project more fulfilling. According to Amy E. Earhart and Toniesha L. Taylor “We select technologies with low entry points so as to encourage this range of participation” (Earhart & Taylor, 2016). This makes for easy access for people who are trying to understand what digitizing is and by having easy access people who would usually see digitizing as a challenge can now picture themselves as digital humanists. CUNY is cutting edge when it comes to diversity by reaching out and working with colleges such as Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University on digital projects.

Another interesting digital Humanities project would be Amistad. This digital Humanities project focuses on integrating African American History into the social studies curriculum in K- 12 schools. This curriculum could have not come at a better time. The United States of American is in my opinion going through anew enlightenment era. This project shows great growth in the future on how children will understand race issues in America and be the face that can change injustice in the future. It all starts with dismantling a system that is not all inclusive and make it to be an equal playing ground for all. This project allows for students to see themselves in text and learn that they can to do great things.

When completed, it will include hundreds of rare and iconic photographs, audio recordings, news clips, and excerpts of oral history interviews with a descriptive narrative text explaining significant themes and key events in African-American history, from slavery to the twenty-first century. (Amistad, 2009)

The same argument can be made for Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Black at Bryn Mayer was a concept started by two students Emma Kioko and Grace Pusey. This project came at a time of injustice, when a confederate flag was hung in a dormitory on campus. This shed light on the campus and the students no only wanted to bring light to what was going on but a solution to help inform further students of why this flag was so hurtful. According to the student of Bryn Mawr College.

The purpose of Black at Bryn Mawr is to build institutional memory of the College’s engagement with race and racism, enabling future students to hold both themselves and the College community to higher standards of awareness and accountability to racial power dynamics inside and outside of the classroom. It explores the experiences of Black students, faculty, and staff at the College from its founding in 1885 to the present day. (Black at Bryn Mawr, 2017)

Not only has Bryn Mawr come a long way with racial and injustice issues on their campus they are also coming a long way when dealing with female familiarity in Digital Humanities. Bryn Mawr College has partnered with the Seven Sisters Digital Humanities project, which documents the history of women in higher education.

Women are often left behind when it comes to recognition in higher learning. Jacqueline Wernimont brings important awareness when it comes to male driven tools in the use of digital humanities. However, Wernimont’s argument is limited by her own use of the term “Feminist intervention.” She fails to define her sense of feminism as it is generally understood. Feminism is not an inclusive term and often leaves out women of color. Hence, the terms Black Feminist, Womanist, Chicana Feminism, etc … the list goes on. Not all women identify themselves as feminist, so by saying that her article is problematic. It begs the question of who and what are being left out of the equation. Bringing light to women’s issues in digital humanities is awesome, but it has to be all women no matter how they might identify.

-Barbara Twyman

Recovering Silenced Voices

At our meeting on November 9th, our reading group explored representation in digital archives. The digital archives that we explored where Black at Bryn Mawr, Visualizing Emancipation, and O Say Can You See. Each of these archives took a unique approach to visually representing racial history in the United States. Black at Bryn Mawr was started by Bryn Mawr students Emma Kioko ’15 and Grace Pusey ’15 in the Fall of 2014. Through the use of historical artifacts, such as pictures, documents, letters, ect, Kioka and Pusey composed a digital walking tour that illustrates the racialized history of Bryn Mawr. The digital walking tour represents the racial history of the college through discussions of place. Viewers are taken to different buildings on campus that represent the racialized views of the college. One particularly powerful visual representation on the map is Rockefeller Hall, known historically as “the servant quarters”.  The authors note “At Bryn Mawr, servant corridors communicated clearly the expectation that Black men and women should do their work without being seen or heard, thereby bypassing any need to acknowledge or credit them for their labor”( Kioka and Pusey 2015)

The second Archive that our reading group spent some time looking at Visualizing Emancipation. Visualizing Emancipation “organizes document evidence, about when, where, and how slavery fell apart during the American Civil War.” When viewers first click on the map they are bombarded by various data points that each represent a historical event. Once one clicks on the point a window will pop up details the event. Viewers can also click a link at the bottom of the pop up to be taken directly to the source for that event. In representing the archive visually on a map, it allows viewers to draw conclusions about what sort of vents were taking place where as well as where the greatest concentration of events took place.

The third archive that we briefly took a look at was O Say Can You See. This archive “documents the challenge to slavery and the quest for freedom in early Washington D.C.”  There are many ways to go about navigating this site. You can navigate by people, families, cases, and stories.  If one chooses to navigate by selecting a specific individual to follow then one will be brought to a sort of map detailing the chosen person connections. If one chooses to navigate by case then one is able to actually see some of the historical documents and the ruling of the case.

Though all of these archives go about presenting the artifacts contained in them differently, they all tell of a highly racialized history within our nation. One where certain voices are silenced because of their skin color. A country where we as digital scholars must engage in these types of recovery projects in order to begin to give voice to the silenced.

 

Post-Meeting Discussion Threads: Voices of Representation in Delineated Archives

As we complicated the readings with our discussion, we also highlighted a couple of digital archives outside our original collection, as well:

O Say Can You See: Early Washington DC, Law & Family

&

Visualizing Emancipation.

These both gave us a gateway into discussing ethical presentations of curated materials as both, like the Black at Bryn Mawr project, deal with presenting historical artifacts in a way that paints a multi-perspective narrative that deploys a representational memory. While all three of these archives resounded thoughtfully with us, they each utilize different tools for navigation and making meaning.

Even more interesting, all three occupy space within black studies and create a new, critical perspective. As Terman notes, “the challenge Black Studies scholars face . . . [is] how to produce quality content that is centralized enough to provide a cumulative critical apparatus, as opposed to a flurry of unorganized memes.” This is, as Terman goes on, even more difficult within the context of Digital Humanities as we think about ontologies. Each of these three archives can easily be delineated as “Black Studies” scholarship, but defining the specifics as to why this is so becomes murky. As Wernimont discusses when exploring feminist interventions, our understanding of the methodologies and criteria for classification impact our understanding of them. While the scholarship we read before our meeting and the discussions we had in class found us grappling with these ideas, we realized the inherent difficulty in approaching these topics was in securing an answer to these questions. That is to say, while dealing with power relations and alterity, a meaningful representation has to be one that calls these ethical considerations into question for there to be meaning present. As Gallon so concisely notes, “to get caught up in the exact definitions or questions of ‘who is in or who is out’ in black digital humanities is to ignore how the very nomenclature of blackness as a complex and rich history that moves in the same conceptual orbit as the term ‘digital humanities.’”

As all three of these archives are recovery projects (they pull forward and present historical artifacts for a more complex understanding of silenced voices), representation and identity are at the forefront of each. But because of the nature of archives, there is also a flattening happening. Collectively, we pushed back against what this flattening took away from these projects as we examined what it allowed. Interestingly, it was in this space that we managed our most productive conversation about the nature of DH and representation. This also gave us a more complex understanding of what each of these three archives were framing. Black at Bryn Mawr, for instance, in exploring identity and space, situates its meaning in the representation of the present. We are meant to see how these artifacts still hold power and where, specifically, that still resonates or is obscured in the now. With O Say Can You See, we are instead meant to grapple with just how widespread and inescapable the lack of humanity was in a specific moment in order to trace how these structures are still impactful.

Expanding Past “Whiteness”

Projects like Black at Bryn Mawr and White Violence, Black Resistance acknowledge race and expose racism on campuses where the racial tension is felt and acted upon but rarely discussed. In our meeting on November 9, we discussed how these projects served our understanding of race and racism in digital humanities. By placing the focus on Black voices and history, students get to learn about their campus, and how where they currently live might still be affected by racism. Earhart and Taylor note, “White Violence, Black Resistance reminds us of the range of means by which power differentials are replicated within the academy.” On the one hand, both projects work at bringing forward and archiving materials about race and racism related to their campus, so that students gain some understanding of how Black Studies and the Digital Humanities meet.

On the other hand, students are forced to ask the larger questions about Digital Humanities’ “whiteness”. The projects are a step forward in the progression of digital humanities and the inclusion of race, gender, and sexuality but don’t get deeper into the larger issues of digital humanities. If the students are pulling from deep archives within their university, how valid or close to the truth are the records? If a white source is recording information about a Black individual or group, how does their terminology for mentioned group or individual change the way those records are archived? These are just some questions we discussed in our meeting that turned the light back onto the “whiteness” within digital humanities, but instead of letting it just live there while everything else stays in the dark we criticized its tendency to erase and revise the accounts of Black voices.

I think that focusing on the black voices of digital humanities starts with Neal’s call to look “beyond normative ideas of who is a digital scholar.” He states that when people think of a digital scholar they automatically assume that he’s a he and he’s white. To change how we collect, interpret, and archive data we have to have an understanding that digital humanities go beyond the interests of white people and pay more attention to groups that are rarely if ever spoken of. Technology, as used by the White Violence, Black Resistance project encourages students to use whatever technology they have to contribute. The students participating not only stifle the idea that additions made by undergraduates are irrelevant but also the stereotype that Black people lack the interest to handle technology. Their interest and participation in the project include them in the study of digital humanities, and through the project, put their faces in front of the go-to image of the white digital humanities scholar.

Complicate

We need to complicate the idea of problematizing.

Though I generally consider myself a feminist, it shocks me how little I know about the topic.  This is especially true when faced with the depth and breadth of knowledge available. This shock often manifests itself in an inability to engage in feminist discourse.  As a scholar, I know I should spend time researching what the waves of feminism are and how this affects culture and my life.  But as a person, I feel overwhelmed.  Truthfully, since this topic has minimal connection to my research, I will probably not put effort into learning the vocabulary to engage in this discussion fully. Even though I am directly affected by the ideas of feminism, the entry bar to understanding the issues fully is too high.

Are we, as digital humanists, exclusionist in the language we use to describe the systemic issues that exclude people?  Ideas that go viral are simple, easily applicable, and easily changed to fit a personal framework (Bennett & Segerberg).  Yet while discussing topics of race and gender, simplifying an issue can create misinformation and misunderstanding.  We all have complex and rich histories, we just need a staring place to begin exploring them.   These histories are all about perspective, meaning we need more people with diverse backgrounds to engage in these topics and allow for their voices to be heard.  It is necessary for digital humanists to create an entry point for those interested in developing and sharing their knowledge on issues like race and gender.

My first learning about Thanksgiving was in kindergarten and taught that the American Indians and the pilgrims were friends.  None of the problems were introduced.  However, this was the beginning of my scaffolding to learn about the issues and problems that exist in the world.  Though we are no longer children, the learning process occurs in much the same way. If we start off by teaching our students or even the world about systemic issues by addressing them head on in their full problematization, people may become overwhelmed and leave without even trying to understand.  It is a challenge to make sure people do not shrug off our ideas as over complicated while still keeping the ideas fully intact.

So, the question is where do we start? We need to find a way to simplify without losing truth and allow for a general entry point for those who may not be interested yet.  These ideas about systemic injustice need to be seen by the entire population, not just by scholars.

 

 

Lance Bennett & Alexandra Segerberg (2012) THE LOGIC OF CONNECTIVE ACTION, Information, Communication & Society, 15:5, 739-768, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.670661

Exclusionary Logics in the Digital Humanities

In preparation for our upcoming discussion around Mercado’s Black at Bryn Mawr, we explored the aforementioned project alongside a number of similar efforts, all of which strive toward the preservation, publication, and promotion of suppressed narratives. While many hail the rise of DH as an emancipatory force that facilitates these sorts of cross-cultural collaborations, others contend that the institutional parameters of the field (digital though they may be) still exist along exclusionary lines. As this week’s assigned readings suggest, only through the acknowledgement and deconstruction of gendered, racialized logics can we hope to truly achieve the diversity and inclusivity long touted by proponents of our discipline.

Although few would disagree that certain internalized biases remain embedded within prevailing infrastructures, there seems to be some debate over the exact nature and scope of the central problem at hand. In “Black Studies and Digital Humanities: Perils and Promise,” Terman posits that the primary challenge facing scholars within Black Studies is determining “how to produce quality content that is centralized enough to provide a cumulative critical apparatus.” Preoccupied less with content and more with material conditions surrounding its production, Earhart and Taylor suggest that attention be turned to “inequitable distributions of digital humanities resources and labor.” For Wernimont, however, attempts to impose a strictly economic or consumptive framework upon DH undermine its fundamentally qualitative concerns: “a celebration of plentitude reproduces certain commercial metrics — notably production as value and information as capital — of which there is significant feminist critique.” Finally, Gallon sidesteps the structural conversation around academic racialization, focusing instead on the perpetuative source of these hegemonic formations, namely, our collective refusal to engage them.

As you might expect, proposed responses to these issues vary just as widely as articulations of the issues themselves. While Terman advocates the celebration and centralization of scholarly work occurring at the intersection of DH and Black Studies, Earhart and Taylor promote a model of dispersal, “one designed to decenter traditional power structures by shifting power centers, eliminating funding needs, and reducing the necessity for advanced technical knowledge.” Working toward a feminist critique of the digital archive specifically (and DH more broadly), Wernimont calls for an indexical, rather than enumerative, approach to the “proliferation of projects” that Earhart and Taylor envision. As for Gallon, she believes that the answer lies not in the projection of a digital future but in recovery of a human past: “‘How can digital tools and processes such as text mining and distant reading be justified when there is so much to do in reconstructing what it means to be human?’”

Demonstrating a potential synthesis of digital functionality and humanistic restoration, Black at Bryn Mawr is an extensive research project that “explores the experiences of Black students, faculty, and staff at the College,” thereby raising awareness of “racial power dynamics inside and outside of the classroom” (“About the Project”). The result of student collaboration under the guidance of Monica Mercado and Sharon Ullman, Black at Bryn Mawr encompasses a series of blog posts, walking campus tours, and an interactive digital map, all of which support the project’s ultimate objective: “to build institutional memory of the College’s engagement with race and racism, enabling future students to hold both themselves and the College community to higher standards of…accountability” (“About the Project”). The Amistad Digital Resource for Teaching African American History and the Florida Memory Black History photograph exhibit are two related projects, similarly awareness-driven. Looking forward, these efforts can serve as inspiration—if not definitive models—for future attempts to break down exclusionary logics, using our digital tools not to suppress, but rather to promote difference within DH.

Works Consulted

 

“Black at Bryn Mawr” and Technologies of Recovery

Thursday, November 9, 3:30-4:45 pm
Williams (WMS) 415 [turn L off elevators, then R]

Being “Black at Bryn Mawr”: Past as Legacy and Project

For our third meeting this term, the Digital Scholars group will peruse some recent legacy projects and engage in conversation about technologies of recovery. Central to our discussion will be “Black at Bryn Mawr,” a collaborative project begun by Emma Kioko and Grace Pusey in the Fall of 2014 under the guidance of Monica Mercado and Sharon Ullman. Initially conceived as a cross-disciplinary attempt to re/build institutional memory of the College’s “engagement with race and racism,” BBW represents a growing number of legacy projects that hope to re-situate institutions’ relationships to their past and present communities. While the digitization project is ongoing, during the AY 2017-2018, Bryn Mawr has also begun discussions about installing other physical projects and/or naming physical landmarks on campus to highlight some of the content amplified by this work. We may take up the following questions:

  • How might projects like these satiate or provoke ongoing concerns about the “whiteness” of Digital Humanities?
  • Is “legacy” an appropriate term for data-oriented projects driven by models of data-gathering that may potentially flatten?
  • Since Digital Scholars first raised this question in 2011, how far have we come in considering how a “critical code studies” might inform (or transform) this work?
  • Assuming their interest in the material and cultural implications of technologies of recovery, what seems an appropriate set of questions for digital humanists to ask, or with which to build such projects?
  • What stands in the way of authentically anti-racist dialogues surrounding technology within DH?
  • How is DH complicit in barring such dialogues from occurring?

Participants will be encouraged to share their perspectives on and experiences with other inclusion projects, and all are invited to read and view the following in advance:

All are welcome! We hope you can join us,

-TSG

Putting an Ethics of Care into Operation — Notes from Anais Nony’s talk, “‘Data-Mining the Body’: Racialized Bodies, Data-Mining, and Technics of Control”

In her talk titled “‘Data-Mining the Body’: Racialized Bodies, Data-Mining, and Technics of Control,”Anais Nony, post-doctoral fellow in French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University, stressed the ways in which the “technical is political” and that “no technique is apolitical.” Nony explained that the technical always includes the relation of an object to a living thing, therefore the political is inescapable. Additionally, Nony argued for the use of the term “digital studies” as opposed to “digital humanities,” because as digital humanists, we should be working with scientists, working with science, and that a division between the two was counterproductive and Nony’s talk supported the notion that such a division may also be potentially harmful, to view the objective as divided from humanism is to ignore a political reality, and to view humanism as uninfluenced by objective science allows for a clandestine creeping of colonialism—an “unintentional” imposition of epistemologies and ideologies upon the frameworks of our knowledge making. “Unintentional” programming—English as a default in MS Word, male and female binary options within surveys, etc, or as Duarte and Belarde Lewis make clear in “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies”, the ways in which archival naming practices are self-referential to the archivalist.

The tension between objective science and humanism is not old, but Nony drew attention to the ways in which the digital is changing the dynamic tension between the technical and our humanity, and she pointed to two distinct changes, one, the synchronization of information—world wide data sets are aligned with the power of the internet and cloud computing, and two, the ability to shape time and space through technology that is inscribed in the network. We are the receptors of that communication, but unlike previous text technologies, most of us don’t necessarily have the abililty to shape the technology. We are fed by data, but don’t have access to the platform.

It’s attention to this gap, this gap between platform and use, the gap between the system and the content, between the system and use, and it is attention to this gap that forms a “digital ethics of care.” A digital ethics of care would involve awareness of modalities and their relation to human bodies, and it would involve awareness of the ways in which the digital can create toxic environments or can be used for toxic purposes. Nony argues that it’s our (as digital humanists and our by extension as citizens) responsibility to develop remedies for “our own toxicity”. This is where the nootechnics come in, which I translate loosely to mean, “intelligent craft”—a technics that is aware of how it operates, and how it affects the beings involved. Examples of the absence of care can be found in the use of the Palentir database by ICE agents that is used against undocumented immigrants in recent years, and early in the 20th century, X-ray technology was used by South African diamond mine owners to scan the bodies of slaves for smuggled diamonds. The tool is used to legitimate colonial forces, and to automate acts of racism, but the tool itself is not questioned.

So what does a “digital ethics of care” look like or how can we work towards viewing the digital in non-neutral ways? In response the issues Nony brought to light, participants in the discussion expressed a desire for pedagogical action, how can we teach this? Awareness of technical modality, being aware of scholarship and acknowledgement of the ways in which resistance exists and is possible, these were three notions that were proposed. A central tension that surfaced in response to the question of action was where does the burden of a digital ethics of care reside: is it in the individual or in the collective? And while in some senses, of course the answer is both/and, located sites for apathy seemed to be relevant in individual and collective contexts. Individuals can resist the addiction of data feed and collective transparency can be questioned. Big data may anticipate the moves of body, but the automation of data is “implemented” at some point and not automatic in its genesis. An ethics of care can be put into motion and operation.

Nony, Anaïs. (2017) Nootechnics of the DigitalParallax, 23:2, 129-146 [FSU access]

Nony, Anaïs. (2017) From Dividual Power to the Ethics of Renewal in the Anthropocene, Azimuth, International Journal of Philosophy, 9, 31-41

Risam, Roopika (2015), Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and the Digital HumanitiesDigital Humanities Quarterly, 9:2

Duarte, Marisa Elena, and Miranda Belarde-Lewis (2015) Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous OntologiesCataloging and Classification Quarterly [FSU access]

Collective Conciousness for Rewriting History

This week in preparation for Dr. Anaïs Nony’s visit, our Digital Scholars reading group engaged with two of her works. Nony’s texts challenge us as digital humanists to work towards a re-writing of history so that we may, as a society, collectively address our current geo-political condition. In “From Dividual Power to The Ethics of Renewal in the Anthropocene,” Nony states that “the battlefield of the Anthropocene is one that demands action” (2017, p.31). Nony argues that we need to address the urgency of our anthropocenic condition and to take ownership of our geo-political situation.

“To rewrite history,” she argues, “is to heal the festering wounds that thwart the possibility of becoming otherwise in the world. This becoming other than what we are is the promise launched by collective action, by the processes of collective emancipation” (2017, p. 31). Therefore, we cannot hope to address our anthropocenic condition if we do not first acknowledge the role that we as a collective society play. In the challenge towards becoming something other than who we have historically been, we must collectively act if we are to address the urgency of our condition.

Viewing our anthropocenic condition as a battlefield allows us to question relations of power. Power, according to Nony, “is both an ontological and epistemological problem that develops into reflections on philosophies of being and natures of knowledge” (2017, p.33). Nony goes on to argue that in our current situation power is dividual and used to divide rather than unite. This segregated setting produces the possibility of watching from a distance, from a remote place of privilege and comfort, where the actions deployed in front of one’s eyes can be fictionalized to produce feelings of pity and fear (2017 p.36).

This division of power allows some to claim that they have not contributed to the Anthropocene. If we are to overcome our condition however we need to unite and work together. To move forward and address this condition we need to collectively embrace an ethic of care.  Care in this situation is taken to mean an “investment in the future of a living relation, be it with a (deceased) person, a plant, an animal, an object, or a space. Caring is cultivating a relation by investing in it” (2017 p.39). If we are to work towards becoming then we need to invest in changing our current condition not just for the moment but for the future.

In the second article of Nony’s that we were asked to read this week “Nootechnics of the Digital” Nony discussed the role of technics in our digital spaces. Nony argues that nootechnics offers a mode for thinking about the genesis of both noos (intuition, intelligence, flair, intention) and techné (technique, craft, art) as the condition and the consequence of our cultural condition, of our ability to mediate and negotiate different realms of reality” (20017, p.130). Thus, nootechnics can allow researchers a way not only to mediate and negotiate multiple realities, but to also to create change. This brings me to one of the additional reading that our reading group was asked to engage with this week.

In Marisa Elena Duarte & Miranda Belarde-Lewis’s article “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies” the authors explore the way that indigenous communities use online spaces to share cultural artifacts and create a sort of cultural archive. In order to work with Indigenous communities towards decolonization practices, we must first step back from normative expectation (2015 p.678). Doing this allows scholars to open the way indigenous communities make meaning. Duarte and Lewis note that “Indigenous epistemic partners will want to step outside their comfort zone, sensitize themselves to Indigenous histories and political realities, learn to listen in new ways, and position themselves as followers in collaborative projects with Indigenous specialists leading the way” (2015, p.697). What stood out for me was the way that the authors challenge those of us who are not from indigenous communities to listen and be open to hearing.

To allow indigenous voices to create their own narratives, those who work alongside these indigenous people scholars need to be own to new ways of knowing. We need to move away from

Western text-based systems so visible and, therefore, apparently superior to oral, kinesthetic, aesthetic, and communal Indigenous ways of knowing—quipu, ceremonies, dances, songs, oral histories, oratory, stories, hunting and growing practices, healing arts, weaving, painting, pottery, carving, dreaming, and vision work—are the institutions through which Western text-based systems are legitimated (683).

As scholars, we need to be open to these new meaning making moments if we are to work towards decolonization and empowerment of indigenous communities.

If nootechnics allows scholars a way to negotiate between different realities, then we can potentially apply this technique to the ways that we work with indigenous communities to give voice to multiple ways of knowing. If we are to value multiple ways of knowing, then we need to figure out a way to highlight the work of these indigenous communities. Many indigenous communities value oral traditions and storytelling, so the nootechnics approach would seek to figure out a way for technology to allow this tradition the legitimacy that it deserves.

Nony, Anaïs. (2017) “From Dividual Power to the Ethics of Renewal in the Anthropocene.” Azimuth, International Journal of Philosophy, 9, 31-41