Historical events can never be changed, but I’m here to tell you that the way of researching and understanding them can.
Before the 1960’s, history departments and scholars did not consider diversity in part of their research. A movement led by scholars, called the New Social History, made it in effort to “retell history” and understand it in different ways; where they can now diversify their projects by including marginalized groups. This includes but is not limited to, working-class communities, immigrants, African Americans, and women. Now, you may ask, how can this be achieved by technology?
Digital humanities is powered by technology. Through the years, they have developed an abundance of data sets and massive text-mining experiments. As this technology improves, scholars move towards representation in digital humanities; where “the old politics of who deserved to be historicized has become the new politics of who deserves to be digitized” (Gomez, 2019). Digital humanities projects are now focusing on these marginalized, including all and every person. Many digital humanists look at people of different races or genders. I’m curious to see if they can expand their research to include differences in religion, culture, disability, sexual orientation, the list can go on… I hope they can continuously improve on diversifying.
Choosing who gets digitized is “inherently a political decision” (Gomez, 2019). And my opinion is that everyone deserves to be digitized, not only the ones who were or even were not in the past. Everyone deserves data collection that can better understand ourselves and others around us.
According to the New York Times, digital work can be used for a different perspective on pedestrian and cyclist deaths. Road safety advocates are saying that the media is responsible for blaming deaths on the pedestrians or cyclists, not the drivers behind the vehicles. In order to see this, researchers use an automated script and a news aggregator to collect over 4,000 articles of these crashes and select samples for detailed content analysis. It is recorded that the term, “‘accident’ was the most commonly used term for crashes, occurring in 47 percent of sentences in articles’ body text and 11 percent of titles across the sample” (Florida, 2019). An “accident” sounds like a fault on the pedestrian’s or cyclist’s side, which it is not in some of these cases. This digital work betters our understanding of causes from these deaths.
In relation to my other blog posts, it is evident that digital humanists explore and are critical of social power dynamics. From the digital projects I see, most of them are based on race and gender. Based on the situation, having colored skin or being female can have an effect on the social power dynamic relationship (learn more in Blog Post #2). I think Gomez’s piece significantly contributes to this idea by encouraging more diversity in digital projects.
Debates in the Digital Humanities 2019: PART IV ][ Chapter 33. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/read/untitled-f2acf72c-a469-49d8-be35-67f9ac1e3a60/section/3788efb8-3471-4c45-9581-55b8a541364b
Florida, R. (2019, December 10). Why News Coverage of Car Crashes Favors Drivers. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-10/why-news-coverage-of-car-crashes-favors-drivers