Interview with Jessica Marie Johnson in LARB

On July 23, 2016, the LA Review of Books published an interview with Dr. Jessica Marie Johnson, in which she explores the potential for digital work in the humanities to help materialize social justice. The interview includes a shout-out to the transformative work that people at HASTAC have been doing for a long time (alongside folks at #transformDH and the Dismantling the Ivory Tower network) to challenge "the neoliberalization and corporatization of the digital humanities and the academy." The interview also invokes HASTAC Steering Committee Member Fiona Barnett's call to the "brave side" of digital humanities. 

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes:

"The digital influences the way that I approach the archive; my understanding of how to read sources and how people in the past and present are engaged with each other; and how to read into things that are more ephemeral, like the moments in which we laugh, in which language changes, and the shorthand languages that we use among each other that define who is kin, friend, or enemy. Those moments or spaces that are more ephemeral are both analogous to me of social media spaces and also of the ways and moments that diasporic black folk have played in the fragments of the archives."

"what is your university’s investment in black studies, in ethnic studies, in women, gender, and sexuality studies? How are those being cultivated as spaces that serve students, communities, in productive ways? What kind of scholarship is being supported and about who, by who? So I think the 21st-century university has a lot of struggles and tensions that aren’t about the digital being the new fancy tool, but are actually about the extent to which the university is or is not accountable to increasingly diverse and stratified communities."

Read the full interview here


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