Digital Humanities: South Asia and Beyond

Dr Dibyadyuti Roy will be speaking about Resistive Ontologies of Digital Humanities in/from Majority Worlds, at a research forum organised by the Asian, African, Middle Eastern Studies Interest Group.

This online forum will feature three prominent speakers — Dibyadyuti Roy, Deepthi Murali, and Elizabeth Lhost — who have worked on a variety of important and creative South Asia-related digital humanities projects.

They will discuss their process of engaging with the communities, digital tools and methods to facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship within or across a broad range of concepts and the challenges of conducting a Global South-focused Digital Humanities project.

Talks will cover India’s first Digital Humanities collective (DHARTI), transcultural consumption of Indian and Indian-imitation textiles in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive (IPSOLHA).

Resistive Ontologies of Digital Humanities in/from Majority Worlds 

Dr. Dibyadyuti Roy, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, Media Studies and Digital Humanities at the University of Leeds.

This talk emerges from a key question: how important is it for researchers, teachers and practitioners to identify with the normative ontologies of “digital humanities” to participate in and contribute to the supposedly “Global” project of Digital Humanities?

By reflecting upon theoretical interventions in the field of digital humanities alongside drawing upon the speaker's lived experiences as a community-oriented digital humanities practitioner, this talk will emphasize tactics of advocacy and action that allow active structures of resistance against intersectional privileges and other oppressions in the digital humanities and related fields.

Reflecting on the speaker's experience of being a founding member of India’s first Digital Humanities collective (DHARTI), this talk will challenge the epistemic legacies of digital humanities “big tents”.

Connecting Threads: What We Learned from the Pilot for a Global South-to-South Connections Digital Humanities Project

Dr. Deepthi Murali, Research Assistant Professor, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University

This talk will address Connecting Threads, a collaborative multi-partner digital humanities project on transcultural consumption of Indian and Indian-imitation textiles by communities in the Global South in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

One of the most used textiles globally in this period was the “Madras handkerchief”. A large square-shaped checked cotton cloth made in a variety of colours and checkered patterns (that is often confused with gingham), Madras handkerchiefs were not just a measure of the high craftsmanship of lower-caste Southern Indian weavers for centuries past, but they were to varying degrees used as distinctive head wraps by different groups of Caribbean peoples, as neckties and lower-garment fabric by communities in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and for a myriad number of utilitarian purposes of bundling belongings, wiping sweat, and eventually as rags for cleaning homes, across the world.

This talk will focus on data sources and data collection for this project that we have undertaken in the past year, including the challenges of doing a Global South-focused Digital Humanities project. I will also briefly touch upon what we envision this project will be in its visualization phase.

The Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive (IPSOLHA): Aims, Objectives, Challenges

Dr. Elizabeth Lhost, South Asia Digital Librarian, Center for Research Libraries

The Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive (IPSOLHA) is a digital database project designed to bring the legal history of the dozens of princely states that promulgated independent laws, maintained separate court systems, and contributed to ideas about sovereignty and society during British rule into conversation with the growing field of South Asian legal history.

By locating, cataloguing, and making these resources accessible — as fully digitized documents when possible or as detailed library and archive references — IPSOLHA will provide scholars with tools to pursue new research questions, engage in multi-state and comparative research, and make the legal histories of the princely states visible within the wider history of British India.

This presentation will introduce IPSOLHA as a digital database project, describe its aims, and outline its future objectives.

Book your place

The event takes place at 4:00pm BST; 11:00am EST. Register here to attend.


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay.