On January 4th, I attended an MLA panel titled “Representing Race: Silence in the Digital Humanities.” Adeline Koh – a speaker on this panel – talked at length about her current project “Digitizing Chinese Englishmen: Representations of Race and Empire in the Nineteenth Century. (This panel provoked a great deal of discussion. For now, here’s a storify version of the panel: xhttp://storify.com/crunkfeminists/representing-race-silence-in-the-digital-humanitie?utm_campaign=website&utm_source=email&utm_medium=email. Koh has also discussed her project on the CHI Blog: http://chi.anthropology.msu.edu/2012/05/28/race-in-dh-postcolonial-studies-and-digitizing-chinese-englishmen-an-interview-with-adeline-koh/#respond). Koh introduced “Digitizing Chinese Englishmen” as a postcolonial archive intended to digitize and annotate “the Straits Chinese Magazine, a journal produced by the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” She talked persuasively about the need to decolonize archives and to also interrupt the logics of imperial archives that try to consolidate knowledge and power by effectively silencing and co-opting representations of the Other.
Koh’s discussion of this postcolonial archive got me