Over the past several months the world has witnessed the impact of social networking tools to advance democracy and social justice in the Middle East, and websites such as ushahidi.com, among others, have chosen to critically confront issues of social inequality, race, and genocide. However, few digital humanists to date include the role of social justice in the digital humanities in their ongoing discussions. Attempts to discuss social justice as an outcome of work in the digital humanities have been raised at previous national conferences, including DH2009 and HASTAC 2010, with little success. Most recently THATCamp SoCal’s session on Diversity in Digital Humanities issued a GoogleDoc, “Towards an Open Digital Humanities” that argued “… [the] digital humanities must take active strides to include all the areas of study that comprise the humanities and must strive to include participants of diverse age, generation, sex, skill, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, ability, nationality, culture, discipline, areas of interest. Without open participation and broad outreach, the digital humanities movement limits its capacity for critical engagement.” Unfortunately, the phrase “social justice” does not appear anywhere in that call to action. Instead, it maintains that diversity in the digital humanities can be reduced to issues of access and inclusion. “Digital Humanities + Social Justice = ‘Does Not Compute?'” seeks to look beyond the digital divide and considers how social justice can be both a pedagogical goal in our research and teaching, and also a part of our methodologies in the digital humanities.
This session looks to address the following:
1. Why are issues of social justice seemingly incompatible with the digital humanities?
2. What is required for broader, more critical conversations among digital humanists to emerge regarding issues of social justice?