Digital Humanities and Puerto Rican Studies 2


The hashtag #transformDH has taken on a life of its own, and pretty soon I hope to have my chronicle of how it came to be up and readable, but for now, let me say that the mission statement of the #TransformDH Collective (as we have taken to calling ourselves) is “To use the methodological insights of queer and ethnic studies to produce a transformative effect on the digital humanities and produce a digital humanities that is itself transformative.” It was born out of a desire for more of a number of separate but interrelated things:

  • A wider diversity in the people who do DH
  • A wider diversity of topics and areas of DH inquiry
  • More communication and connection between people doing queer or ethnic studies DH work
  • And more…

For my own part, my interest was sparked by conference attendance. At MLA, ASA, THATCamp and other conferences I’d been to, I had grown, over time, accustomed to seeing panels tweeted. I grew to appreciate the ability that twitter offered to follow some of the great moments, even if they were just textual soundbites, from panels I could not attend. When I got to the Puerto Rican Studies Association conference in 2010, tweeting conferences had become second nature to me, and tweet I did.

I was almost the only one. PRSA hadn’t chosen a hashtag, hadn’t coordinated, and we just didn’t create the online splash of even a regional THATCamp, despite being a conference several times the size. I started wondering why. This led me to propose the THATCampSoCal session “Diversity in DH.” We talked about a lot of things there, and some great things have sprung from that session, but I still haven’t been able to bridge the divide I see in two of my fields of interest.

Call for Participants

Together with some good twitter friends, I’m putting together a roundtable for the upcoming Puerto Rican Studies Association conference. (I moved at the last meeting, by the way, because #PRSA is taken by the Public Relations Society of America, the Puerto Rican Studies hashtag is now: #PRStudies.)

I’ve set up another google doc and would like to begin a large conversation. I have been working on the theories and practices of bilingual digital representation for a while–I am interested in how we represent bilingual texts online. Inspired by a conversation with Aurora Levins Morales, I realized that while my own project is important, it has a much more important place in the context of a larger project. Puerto Rican Studies, as a field, needs to have real and practical conversations about the digital projects that exist, and about the digital projects that need to exist. Let’s start talking about a digital museum and library of puertorriqueñidad.

Building a Team

I’ve been in contact with a few people with great Puerto Rican Studies digital projects, and I’m looking for more (do you know some? send them my way!). I’ve been in contact with people about the overlap between such a project and an even larger project–Latino/a? Latin American? The Americas? Please, if you are interested, leave a comment here, or send one through the comment form on the home page, or email me, or tweet @PhDeviate. If you’re interested in participating in the roundtable at the Puerto Rican Studies Association, let me know that as well, and I’ll give you edit privileges to the google doc.

Back to #TransformDH

This is the kind of project that we in the #TransformDH collective are envisioning. In this case, how can Digital Humanities transform the ways we publish, archive, disseminate, make available, and even translate Puerto Rican cultural production? And how could this project change the ways that Digital Humanities thinks of itself?