Sarah Bond (University of Iowa) has written a blog post reflecting on “the ways in which digital humanities projects can be used to amplify, to visualize, and to give agency to underrepresented groups.” Bond asks “How can digital humanities contribute to social justice?,” and goes on to provide examples of DH projects that explicitly seek to raise awareness, fill gaps, and investigate biases and injustices.
Bond expounds on her experience founding and developing WOAH: Women of Ancient History, a “crowd-sourced list of female ancient historians.” She also explores all-male panels and a special issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament, which was authored and edited by all men, as a lens to reiterate why investigating power structures and centering social justice in digital humanities (and all academic work) is so critical. Bond closes with describing how a recent redesign of WOAH is not just to aid the project’s users, but also serves as a potent reminder for DH practitioners of why we engage in this work:
The hope is that people will be able to use the site more easily, update their entries, and find female ancient historians near to their own city––but I really can’t guarantee this. What I can confidently state is that digital humanities projects not only provide tools for users, they provide experiences for creators. I have learned more about the many women in my field than ever before and gotten the chance to work with some fantastic digital humanists over the past two and a half years of developing WOAH. I just wanted to take a minute and remind myself and my readers that DH projects can also teach us as much as they teach others.