Missing Histories in the Digital Age

Earhart’s point in “Can Information Be Unfettered?: Race and the Digital Humanities Canon” that great loss has already been sustained in the digitization of projects is valid and noticeable especially during this time of digital reliance. Unfortunately, the reality is that if a web page or digital project is not constantly accessed or improved, it faces the reality of falling through the cracks of time. Especially when it comes to institutional works, work can very easily be lost or become difficult to access if there is other, well supported work taking up the spotlight because of its institutional backing and funding.

Earhart noticed this loss usually affected minority recovery projects, which, considering all the literature read in this course so far, is unsurprising. It is clear “that we have not escaped the traditional canon by turning to new methods of publication.” In fact, it can be successfully argued that the reinforcement of these traditional canons have made it even more difficult to rectify this problem throughout.

However, what I find interesting and reassuring during this time of working from home, is that more and more perspectives are now online since this is sometimes the only way people can connect with one another. I’ve seen ways people from different cultures have been occupying their time, different activities that are being used to engage with kids educationally and socially, and different histories being shared. Especially with museum’s now making their exhibitions available online, it allows for people to access new material they would’ve otherwise not have had access to.

This, of course, is a unique time. While I, and I’m sure most people, would prefer life to revert back to how it was before, it is this new online environment that is connecting people and histories in a new way from ever before. I’ve noticed teachers especially making an effort to diversify their curriculum and get creative in the sources they use and the links they provide for their students. My only concern with this, however, are the students from low income neighborhoods who are being given packets to take home instead of Chromebooks. It is their lives being disrupted the most, and they have little means of accessing these great, new materials online. These kids are the equivalent of lost minority projects. Their histories and experiences are even more restricted than before.

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