POST: Indigenous Literature and the Digital Humanities

David Gaertner (University of British Columbia) has written a post for the Novel Alliances blog that explores the relationship between the digital humanities and new media studies in relation to Indigenous literature. In “Indigenous Literature and the Digital Humanities,” Gaertner argues that “the threat of exploitation” accounts for the disjuncture between the two areas:

Indigenous lit scholars resist DH because the concerns Indigenous communities have about the expropriation of data have not been taken seriously. They won’t be taken seriously until decolonial critique is actively installed at the foundations of DH theory and methodology.


That conversations around digital technologies are drawn around these two categories, “digital humanities” on the one hand, and “new media” on the other, is telling in itself. Both fields are invested in similar ideas, they traffic in similar theory, and they advance and engage with similar technologies. DH has only just barely begun to critically interrogate the colonial ideologies upon which its field is founded, where as “new media” is rapidly establishing decolonial theory as a cornerstone of the work.

He goes on to give an overview of recent scholarship by Indigenous new media artists and theorists, and draws on the work of Kim Christen (director of Mukurtu) to discuss the notion of “data sovereignty.”

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between​ ​ Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara, Joi Jackson, Stephen Lingrell, Lorena O'English, Shilpa Rele, Allison Ringness (Editors-at-large for the week), Roxanne Shirazi (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), and Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Caro Pinto and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).​ ​