“…we must discuss, we must invent…” —Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
From Sandra Harding’s interventions in postcolonial science studies to Radhika Gajjala’s articulation of digital subalternity to Kavita Philip’s work on postcolonial computing, postcolonial approaches to technology have provoked lively discussion. New conversations have emerged around essential questions: can the digital be “decolonized?”; what are the limits of decolonial, postcolonial, or anti-colonial approaches to digital cultures?; and how can these theoretical approaches be marshaled to build communities, tools, and justice?
Together, we will explore these questions at the intersections of theory and praxis as we consider how tools can be theorized, hacked, and used in service of decolonization. This course undertakes this task through three goals: 1) learning about, understanding, analyzing the history and present processes of colonization, decolonization, neocolonialism and the postcolonial, with attention to local, hemispheric and global contexts; 2) analyzing digital technologies, with attention to how they intersect with humanities disciplines such as art, literature and performance, and how they produce, reproduce or enact processes of colonization; and 3) inventing new and/or alternative technologies, or new uses of existing technologies, that work against colonization and post-colonial legacies that maintain social injustice.
Our days will be spent engaging with theory, hands-on experimentation, and reflection on practice. Theoretical topics may include digital labor, subalternity, embodiment, and aesthetics. Applied activities may include Scalar-based game design, mobile media/film/photography, digital exhibits, and mapping. In the spirit of our theoretical approach, we emphasize accessiblity and low-cost technology, as well as creativity and interpretation. Therefore, no prior experience with theory or practice is required, just an openness to discuss and invent the theories and practices of De/Post/Colonial Digital Humanities.
Syllabus for De/Post/Colonial Digital Humanities Course (PDF download)