Upcoming ASA Roundtable

For those interested in critical race and ethnic studies and queer studies, I’ll be on an amazing panel at the American Studies Association this Friday with a group of very talented peers, and moderated by Anna Everett (who is too cool for words). Our panel is titled “Transformative Mediations? Ethnic and Queer Studies and the Politics of the Digital.” Here’s the abstract of the panel in the ASA program:

In an era of widespread budget cuts at universities across the United States, scholars in the digital humanities are gaining recognition in the institution through significant grants, awards, new departments and cluster hires. At the same time, ethnic studies departments are losing ground, facing deep cuts and even disbandment. Though the apparent rise of one and retrenchment of the other may be the result of anti-affirmative action, post-racial, and neoliberal rhetoric of recent decades and not related to any effect of one field on the other, digital humanities discussions do often elide the difficult and complex work of talking about racial, gendered, and economic materialities, which are at the forefront of ethnic and gender studies. Suddenly, the (raceless, sexless, genderless) technological seems the only aspect of the humanities that has a viable future.

The increasing precariousness of the job market, which results in an unprecedented increase in part-time, adjunct, and non tenure-track hires, makes it important to consider issues of labor and inequality based on difference – whether in terms of race, gender, sexuality, or disability. Even tenured faculty have difficulty justifying their ambitious, non-traditional digital projects to funding agencies; ethnic and queer studies faculty–so often dual appointments or contingent positions–face additional challenges when planning digital projects. We must also consider the impact of technology on labor beyond academia. How, for example, is this current discourse of digital humanities ill-equipped to deal with issues of production and consumption, such as the Asian American women workers who build computer parts or the disposal of e-waste in Ghana? Moreover, how can we build a digital humanities that creates better tools and forms of collaboration, but is also attentive to the gendering of hardware and software tools, or is sensitive to the exclusionary practices of collaboration?

This roundtable consists of a panel of graduate students and recent PhDs who work on gender, queerness, race, and additional forms of difference in digital culture, moderated by Anna Everett, senior digital humanities professor. Focused on issues affecting more junior scholars, it emerged out of critical conversations that began at the 2011 MLA convention and continued at the Southern California digital humanities unconference THATCamp. First, we ask how “digital humanities” has been defined; who benefits from that definition? How can digital humanities benefit from more diverse critical paradigms, including race/ethnic studies and gender/sexuality studies? And what can modes of digital scholarship and pedagogy offer to scholars and teachers in American Studies? Our panel will discuss various ways digital scholarly work can productively engage with these lenses of critical cultural studies and solicit new ones. What works of digital scholarship, art, activism and pedagogy enable new possibilities for activating transformations in contemporary US cultural politics?

Taking the form of a rather large, open-ended roundtable discussion we’ll try to present a slew of concerns and problems of Digital Humanities and how it’s emerged as a field, critical perspectives that can be applied to DH as a field, some innovations underway currently, and all with plenty of time for interaction with our audience. Sounds like a lot to cover in an hour and 45 minutes, but it will really be the continuation of a series of discussions that have been occurring for a while now at venues including various THATCamps, queer studies conferences, and in online spaces like Twitter and blogs.

For my part, I’ll be discussing critical race and ethnic studies (particularly Asian American) concerns in DH with an emphasis on labor in the academy, digital production, and opportunities for coalition and collaboration. I’ll confess that my portion is so far rather unformed, but I’m excited to bounce off the ideas of Amanda Phillips, Alexis Lothian, Melanie Kohnen, Marta Rivera Monclova , and Tanner Higgin.

Can’t wait for some RL rabble rousing! Hope some of you can make it.

And for those interested, here’s a quick update:

  • Summer sessions went well. Loved the students and the class.
  • I had a blast presenting on xenophobia and ethnic others in the Justice League of America/The 99 crossover at Comic Con in July. Made some excellent contacts and met some important allies.
  • I have officially paid $90 to the UC Regents (post dissertation prospectus oral defense), and advanced to candidacy. I’m now a Doctoral Candidate!
  • I will be serving as the graduate fellow for the American Cultures & Global Contexts Center in the English Department at UCSB for the next two quarters, where we’re co-sponsoring an incredibly exciting series on Speculative Futures. (Be sure to follow @acgcc and @SpecFutures on twitter for the latest info on events!)
  • Spring will be spent teaching in the Asian American studies department, where I’m teaching a course on Asian Am pop culture.
  • I’m currently applying for a Fulbright to do research in Vietnam. Keep your fingers crossed!
  • And of course, much writing and reading needs to be done for several upcoming presentations (ASA in Baltimore, MLA in Seattle) and the dissertation.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.