Humanity has long been defined in ways that support colonialism, centering white, western, European subjects, and excluding colonized peoples. Important to such colonial social projects, too, is the use of the category of woman in creating distinct binaries between genders, and thus reinforcing male superiority. Many humanities disciplines have similarly maintained the importance of the knowledges of people of colonial and neocolonial ruling nations, while defining non-Western ways of knowing as something less than knowledge: custom, tradition, artifact, as described by Walter Mignolo in Local Histories/Global Designs (2012). The adoption of digital technologies does not solve this problem, but may exacerbate it, relying on expensive computational hardware to add layers to existing archives which require knowledge of computational interfaces only available to a few in order to access them. As Ellen Cushman describes in “Wampum, Sequoyan, Story: Decolonizing the Digital Archive,” archives have long been a tool of colonial power.
The scholars and artists in this forum use multiple approaches to challenge colonial legacies and work towards decolonial futures using contemporary digital technologies, including creating artworks, indigenous archives, games and digital scholarship. We hope to invite conversations about the many ways that HASTAC scholars and readers are responding to issues of neocolonialism; indigeneity and settler statuses; postcolonial approaches; white settler colonialism; tensions between decolonization, migration and diaspora; decolonial aesthetics; blackness and decolonization; queer and trans decolonization in local, transnational and global contexts.
Roopika Risam writes, in a course description for a forthcoming course on de/postcolonial digital humanities: "How might we begin to rethink the colonial topographies, architectures, and networks that so often structure emerging digital media/technologies? 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, through this forum, we hope to explore questions at the intersections of theory and praxis as we consider how tools can be theorized, hacked, and used in service of decolonization. This forum invites participants to: 1) analyze ways that the history and present processes of colonization, decolonization, neocolonialism and the postcolonial are (re)produced in digital mediums with special attention to local, hemispheric and global contexts; 2) examine the possible intersections of digital technologies with humanities disciplines such as art, literature and performance, and how they produce, reproduce or enact processes of colonization; and 3) propose new and/or alternative technologies, or new uses of existing technologies, that work against colonization and post-colonial legacies that maintain social injustice.
Links / Resources
- Postcolonial Digital Humanities
- Elizabeth Lapenseé - Indigenous Game Designer and Artist
- Chicana Por Mi Raza - Digital Memory Collective
- Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society
- Decolonizing the Digital / Digital Decolonization, Center for Global Studies and the Humanities
- Decolonizing the Transgender Imaginary, Transgender Studies Quarterly
 Note: This forum emerged out of conversations between micha cárdenas and Roopika Risam in relation to a proposal for a panel on these topics at the upcoming HASTAC 2015 conference and their forthcoming course “De/Post/Colonial Digital Humanities” at the Humanities Intensive Learning and Teaching institute at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The questions quoted in this paragraph have been written by Roopika Risam.
Invited Contributors: Roopika Risam, Alexandrina Agloro, Maria Cotera, Elizabeth LaPensée, Siobahn Senier
Banner Image: Elizabeth Lapensee, "Bitwork Beadwork: Seeding the Stars, 2015"