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Session Overview
#SG2: Keywords in Asian/Am DH Roundtable
Thursday, 25/Jul/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Anne Cong-Huyen
Location: Marquis A, Marriott City Center
capacity 42

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Keywords in Asian/Am DH

Anne Cong-Huyen1, Dhanashree Thorat2, Amardeep Singh3, Danielle Wong4, Lia Wolock5

1University of Michigan; 2University of Kansas; 3Lehigh University; 4University of British Columbia; 5University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

In recent years, ethnic studies scholars have carved an increasingly visible space for digital scholarship informed by and attuned to ethnic and critical race studies. Perhaps less visible amongst these interventions has been the work done in Asian and Asian American Studies. As many would contend, however, before digital humanities emerged as the field we recognize today, Asian Americanists such as Lisa Nakamura, Rachel C. Lee, Mimi Thi Nguyen, Radhika Gajjala and other scholars in Asian American Studies were researching and publishing on issues of digital labor, digital diasporas, online communities, archives, infrastructure, and networks. We situate this scholarship from Asian American Studies in the genealogy of Digital Humanities.

This roundtable brings together Asian Americanist faculty, librarians, and postdoctoral scholars to unpack and frame research, pedagogy, and praxis at the intersection of Asian American Studies, media studies, Science and Technology Studies, and digital humanities. We will address questions often encountered in both digital humanities circles and Asian American studies, where there is seemingly little overlap: Is there an Asian/Am digital humanities? What does Asian/Am DH look like? How do you do Asian/Am DH? At the same time that we address these questions, we will foreground how Asian/Am DH, like other ethnic studies informed DH praxis, centers concerns of race, social justice, transnationalism, and community.

Borrowing a structure taken from keyword collections, each panelist will be given 5 minutes to illuminate one keyword related to themes, methods, and approaches to Asian/American Digital Humanities:

  • Networks will focus on the larger Asian American literary movement through a quantitative networked study of Asian American periodical culture, and whether it supports the idea that 1974 is a starting point for such a movement;

  • Activism explores connections between the radical tradition of activism in Asian American Studies and the resurgent interest in social and racial justice in digital humanities communities;

  • Connectivity will be addressed as not only a technological feat, but also a cultural practice and process, as revealed by studying the labor of Asian diasporic communities. Contingent and always at risk of breaking down, the maintenance of connectivity demands constant affective, imaginative, and technical effort.

  • Collaboration will highlight the importance, but also the challenges in building and sustaining long-term and equitable collaborations across units and institutions with particular attention paid to precarious labor and power asymmetries;

  • Interface will examine how the historically contested, produced, and performed site of the “inscrutable” Asian face is reimagined on and as digital interfaces, particularly in recent discussions around the selfie politics of surveillance under the travel ban and of the wellness industry.

A substantial amount of time will be reserved to engage with audience members, who we anticipate to be a more general digital humanities audience. We hope that this panel can also provide space to build a community of practice around Asian/Am digital humanities, as many of us are the “lonely only” on our campuses and departments.

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