POST: Alternate Futures, Usable Pasts

Bethany Nowviskie posted the text of the talk she gave at the Marquette University Digital Scholarship Symposium in September, 2016 where she explores “the temporal orientation of the next generation of digital libraries and digital scholarly projects.”

Citing Jarrett Drake’s essay “#Archives for Black Lives: Building Community Archives of Police Violence in Cleveland,” Nowviskie asks, “can we position our digital collections and digital scholarly projects more plainly not as statements about what was and is, but as resources for the building of different, better worlds?” Looking towards alternate futures, Nowviskie continues to ask critical questions and implores practitioners to:

Step back from patriarchal, colonial, heteronormative, and white mediation, and from its sense of control over time, in order (as Afrofuturist thinkers would have it) to make a new space-time in which broader and more diverse publics can assert that agency and imagine alternate futures. I think one way to cultivate the will to step back, among those of us who steward and share the past—who are in love with the past, when it comes right down to it—is to try to unsettle our fundamental orientation toward it.


dh+lib Review

This post was produced through a cooperation between Caleb Derven, Rachel DiCresce, Heather Hill, Kathryn Kuntz, Ariadne Rehbein, Samuel Russell, and Ashley Zengerski (Editors-at-large for the week), Caro Pinto (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).