Presentation at Global Digital Humanities Symposium

by Puthiya Purayil Sneha last modified May 03, 2019 09:41 AM
P.P. Sneha gave a virtual presentation of her work on digital cultural archives at the Global Digital Humanities Symposium organised by Michigan State University on March 21-22, 2019.


Puthiya Purayil Sneha (Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, India)

The archive has been an important context for conversations around digital humanities (DH) in India, as it has been globally. The last few decades have seen several large-scale efforts in digitalization across various sectors, including state institutions (National Museum, National Cultural Audio-Visual Archive (IGNCA)) universities (Jadavpur University, Ambedkar University,) and individual and collaborative efforts (Indian Memory Project, ) to name a few. The emergence of new fields like DH, digital cultures and cultural analytics also indicate several shifts in scholarship, pedagogy and practice, on the one hand alluding to the potential offered by democratizing technologies, but also reflecting persistent challenges related to the digital divide, and more specifically politics around the growth and sustenance of the humanities disciplines.

The growth of new areas of study and creative practice like DH has brought about a renewed focus on the creation of digital corpora, and the need for new technologies and methods of research, more specifically through the development of digital pedagogies. The contexts of these questions are however much wider, located in long-spanning efforts in digitization and digital literacy more broadly, which are still fraught with challenges of access, usage and context. Even as the colonial imagination of state archives remains prevalent in India, digital archival initiatives facilitated by infrastructure such as open source content management systems and tools like web annotation have opened up spaces for alternate narratives. Drawing upon excerpts from a report on mapping the field of DH in India, and ongoing conversations on the digital transition in archival practices, this presentation seeks to understand the politics of digital archiving in a postcolonial context, and how it informs larger trajectories of digitalisation, and the growth of fields like DH in India today.

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