Guest Editing at DHNow

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 My experience as an Editor-at-Large for DHNow was overwhelming positive. I had gone into the process with little knowledge about PressForward, or the forms in which editing could take in digital humanities context, but the staff immediately caught me up on what I needed to know.
The content that most interested me seemed to be “political” in nature, in the sense that a lot of what I chose to nominate dealt explicitly with themes of racism, injustice, and misogyny. The first example of this is the very informational “Re-Presenting the Enslaved Community Sold by the Maryland Province Jesuits in 1838,” by Sharon Leon, which traced Georgetown University’s slave-owning history, including a particularly brutal event in which the University sold some of its slaves in order to pay off debts. The piece utilized a plethora of archival material that was available online under the Jesuit Plantation Project, and struck me as an example of digital scholarship that took as its motivating force an ethical concern with the lineage of slavery.
Another piece that I chose to nominate was Sarah Werner’s “Researching While Unaffiliated,” a somewhat harrowing account of what it is like being what she called an “independent scholar/freelance writer/humanist at large” without institutional affiliation. Of particular concern to her were archives and scholarly journals, which, unless one has an appointment at a university or is a student in a doctoral program, are difficult to access. Although Werner, self-admittedly, did not suffer too much (she has, among other credentials, a PhD from a private university), she did acknowledge her own privilege: “If I worked on, say, 20th-century manuscripts, and lived in western Maryland, and had gone to a state university for my PhD, and was just starting out in my scholarly career, I wouldn’t be able to work as an independent researcher at all” (Werner). This, of course, exposes journals and archives as inherently exclusionary, but, in highlighting this injustice, this article may in fact also be acting as a sort of political rallying call to both DHers and intellectuals more broadly.
The third article I nominated, and the last I will discuss here, was “Beyond Binary: What the Vampire Squid from Hell Can Teach Us About Access and Ethics in the Digital Humanities.”
In this article, Josh Honn discusses how “binary values—the choice of on or off, one or zero—have increasingly affected more than the simple mechanics of our machines and platforms, but have infected culture in many ways” (Honn). The choice of the word “infected” is not accidental; many times, this “binary” form of logic has detrimental, illness-inducing effects. Which isn’t to say that binary logic hasn’t always already existed, at least to an extent, but rather that, in many ways, it has become ubiquitous to the point of absurdity, affecting the various ways in which we can act as political agents. An example Honn provides is Twitter, which allows for one of two accounts settings: open or private. Seemingly innocuous, this binary reinforces an ideology of “openness” founded on the techno-utopian dream (or nightmare) of the“sharing economy,” where individuals are expected to sell themselves on the market.
The reasoning behind all the above choices was twofold: First, I wanted to nominate content that aligned with my own academic interests. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I wanted to highlight articles that engaged critically with the practice of DH. As we’ve discussed in class, DH, like many disciplines, caters to its majority base: white, straight, male practitioners. But, thankfully, things seem to be becoming more inclusive, allowing for alternative viewpoints, and I think all of these articles are a testament to that.


Source: https://dhpraxisfall16.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2016/10/17/guest-editing-at-dhnow/

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