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Department for Afroamerican and African Studies pres.

DAAS Diasporic Dialogues with Angel David Nieves (San Diego State University)

Black DH (Digital Humanities) + Social Justice: The Soweto Uprisings, Stompie Seipei, and Apartheid’s Longue durée

Digital and interactive forms of scholarship challenge established practices in the Arts & Humanities. Audiovisual content, graphic interfaces, and different types of visualizations employed in new forms of presentation and publication (e.g. websites, blogs, online databases, 3D worlds) do not conform with existing concepts of scholarship, and established practices of evaluation. Bringing together 3D model making (scholarship more generally) and the work of digital scholarly editions (DSE) is in fact new, and not a series of scholarly theories and practices that have been previously deployed in the digital humanities. Although these digital vehicles powerfully disseminate and engage with scholarship, scholars who implement these ‘new’ modalities are confronted by “the same old,” established mechanisms with which to gauge ‘impact’ among one’s scholarly peers, i.e. within traditional and long-established publications. Interactive 3D visualization, despite its long tradition in humanities research, is still faced with skepticism and hesitation, not only because of the constant technological shifts and exigencies and the fragile ecosystem within which projects are being developed, but also due to their non-conventional nature that does not adhere to established “norms” and metrics. Nieves will discuss the challenges of doing social justice based work, in digital humanities, while also providing new methods and platforms for dissemination in the Global South. He is currently working on a digital book project entitled, Apartheid Heritages: A Spatial History of South Africa’s Township’s (, now under consideration at Stanford University Press as part of their Mellon Foundation-funded digital publishing initiatives.


Angel David Nieves, Ph.D. is Professor of History & Digital Humanities (in the Area of Excellence in Digital Humanities and Global Diversity) at San Diego State University (SDSU) and Co-Director of their Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI). He was, most recently, (2017-2018) Presidential Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and an affiliate in the Yale Digital Humanities Laboratory (DHLab). He is Research Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
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