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American culture is steeped in the social imaginary of Black death. Dr Tonia Sutherland’s research and presentation, Digital Remains: Reflections On Race and the Digital Afterlife, investigates the social and cultural tensions created by the proliferation of publicly available digital records and data relating to deaths of Black Americans. Sutherland’s research uses these and other records to illustrate the ways Black people’s bodies have been commodified from the analogue era through the digital era. At its heart, Sutherland’s project challenges the narrative that Black people’s lives are disposable. Engaging critical race theory, performance studies, archival studies, and digital culture studies, asking how existing technologies (analogue and digital) reflect the wider social world offline.
This talk by Sutherland calls attention to the complex relationships between the increasingly commercialised digital public display of visual memory objects and the emotional agency of images; the impulses, ethics, and consequences that accompany digitally raising the dead; the human fight against the silence and erasure of oblivion; and the conflicting rights and desires of humans to be forgotten in a time when the Internet is understood to be an expression of forever.
A closing discussion will be moderated and chaired by Sharon Webb, Lecturer in Digital Humanities at University of Sussex and team member of the network (IFTe) Intersections, Feminism, Technology & Digital Humanities.
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(IFTe) Intersections: Feminism, Technology, and Digital Humanities
IMMA is delighted to partner with a new Digital Humanities Initiative networking project (IFTe) Intersections: Feminism, Technology, and Digital Humanities, funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
This Public Talk is part of a programme of workshops Transforming Archives: Intersectional Feminist Approaches to the Practice and Reading of Archives, the latest event in the IFTe project. This set of workshops seek to examine the nature of archives from an intersectional feminist perspective, looking to explore and understand archives, curation, and archiving practices that reflect these principles. These workshops will bring together archivists, artists, curators, community organisations, and academics to identify the issues associated with digital archiving and to explore alternative models of curation, collection, storage, expression, and interaction.
IFTe is a collaboration between Cambridge University, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Sussex University, Technological University of Dublin as well as the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The Intersections, Feminism, Technology & Digital Humanities network (IFTe) addresses a critical challenge in contemporary society and culture: the gender imbalance in computational practices and systems. This challenge has deep implications for Digital Humanities (DH) practice and theorising. Our overarching objective is to ‘un-code’ gendered assumptions, question our digital environments and systems, and embed intersectional feminist methods and theory within DH with a view to the creation of new DH futures. See more details here
Dr. Tonia Sutherland is Assistant Professor in the Department of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Prior to joining the faculty at UHM, Sutherland was an assistant professor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. Sutherland holds a PhD and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Computing and Information (formerly the School of Information Studies), and a BA in history, performance studies, and cultural studies from Hampshire College.
Global in scope, Sutherland’s research focuses on entanglements of technology and culture, with particular emphases on critical and liberatory work within the fields of archival studies, digital culture studies, and Science and Technology Studies (STS), Sutherland’s work critically examines the analog histories of modern information and communication technologies; addresses trends of racialized violence in 21st century digital cultures; and interrogates issues of race, ritual, and embodiment in archival and digital spaces. In her work, Sutherland focuses on various national infrastructures–technological, social, human, cultural–addressing important concerns such as gaps and vagaries; issues of inclusivity and equality; and developing more liberatory praxes.
Sutherland is a member of the Center for Race and Digital Studies, the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and the Association for Library and Information Science Education. Her work appears in The Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies; The American Archivist; Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture; The Annual Review of Cultural Heritage Informatics; and Radical History Review. See more details here
Discussion Moderator + Chair
Sharon Webb is a Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Sussex, History Department and a member of the Sussex Humanities Lab. Webb is a historian of Irish associational culture and nationalism (eighteenth and nineteenth century) and a digital humanities practitioner, with a background in requirements/user analysis, digital preservation, digital archiving, text encoding, and data modelling. Webb also has programming and coding experience and has contributed to the successful development of major national digital infrastructures.
Webb’s current research interests include community archives and digital preservation (with a special interest in LGBTQI+, feminist and BAME archives), social network analysis (method and theory), feminism and technology, among others. She was PI for a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (2018) on the topic of community archives and digital preservation and works with community groups such as Queer in Brighton.
Webb is a co-founder member of the FACT///. network (Feminism Approaches to Computational Technology). She is also the Equalities and Diversity Officer for the School of History, Art History and Philosophy. Further Information here
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