As I progress through the CHI-Fellowship I have continued to learn about the important role of digital humanities for myself as both a scholar and instructor. In the past few weeks, I have become more comfortable with GitHub, Timeline.JS, bootstrap, leaflet, and numerous other digital tools. I look forward to not only producing my own digital humanities project but taking the skills I am learning into the classroom. In a few weeks, I will attend the African Studies Associations annual meeting and I look forward to learning a great deal more about how Africanist scholars are continuing to embrace digital humanities.
In preparation for the conference, I have reviewed the preliminary schedule. A search of “digital” and “DH” revealed no hits. This was initially a shock until I searched for “database,” which revealed several results. Two individual papers by Matthew Hooper, “Reconsidering the ‘South-east Africa and Indian Ocean Islands’ regional grouping in the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database”and Christine Saidi, “What a Linguistic Database Can Reveal,” have database in the names of their papers. Several panels including, Redefining African Regions for Linking Open-Source Data, Using Survey Data in the Study of Refugees and Borders, and Information rights in sub-Saharan Africa: Access, Surveillance, and Data Protection include the word data in their overall panel titles. In the latter cases, many of the proposed paper titles do not include data, databases, or digital humanities.
Digital Humanities continues to be an avenue that is useful for scholars in both the classroom and through research. Africanist have put forth a tremendous effort in creating databases, and I look forward to presentations at ASA which address this. Databases are useful tools for Digital Humanities because they assist not only scholars in research but become indispensable in providing students with an immersive research experience. In attending this year’s ASA conference, I intend to not only look out for digital components within presentations but also during discussions held between sessions.