Roopika Risam (Salem State University) has published “Diversity Work and Digital Carework in Higher Education” in First Monday, in which shes addresses the under-examined intersections of affective labor in diversity work and digital humanities.
These affective dimensions of diversity work, coupled with the emergence of information and communication technologies that facilitate social media have given rise to a new form of academic labor: digital carework. Digital carework sheds light on the confluences of affective and digital forms of labor when diversity work moves into online spaces. Precisely because of its interventions in transforming the nature of scholarly communication through computational and digital technologies, digital humanities provides a useful example of how the digital dimensions of affective labor influence diversity work in higher education.
Risam characterizes digital carework for diversity as “unwanted” and invisible labor, which often falls on “women of color, queer and trans people, and racial minorities who call out, educate, protest, and design around social environments in digital media.” Considering the gendered affective labor of librarianship, and the profession’s ethos of supporting diversity and inclusion, Risam’s work is an important read.
The article is part of a special issue on gender and digital labor, edited by Carolyn Elerding, Roopika Risam, and Radhika Gajjala.