Events | College of Arts



(De)Colonialism and/in Digital Humanities

Facilitators: Ashley Caranto Morford (Toronto) & Arun Jacob (McMaster)

*** These events are free and open to the public ***


As settler colonialism and colonization continue to be firmly embedded within the Canadian state’s systems, including mainstream Canadian institutional spaces, it is imperative that digital humanists address the colonial legacies and problematic discursive practices plaguing the contemporary technoscape. Progressive scholarship must take on the arduous task of dismantling the inherent colonization of the digital domain and infrastructure. This panel and unconference session, focused on the theme of (de)colonialism and/in digital humanities, strive to begin this necessary work.


Roundtable Discussion: Planning a Course on Decolonial Digital Humanities

Date: Tuesday, May 15th at 4:30 pm

Location: Scholar's Studio, 2nd Floor, library

This panel will take the form of an informal roundtable discussion, in which audience participation throughout is welcomed. The purpose of the discussion is to provide a safe forum for digital humanists -- especially those from marginalized communities -- to share ideas about the process of planning and envisioning a decolonial digital humanities course. Questions that will be taken up and discussed include, but are not limited to: How have you integrated successful decolonial pedagogical practices into classroom spaces? What are the particular challenges that you have encountered -- or that could potentially be encountered -- when attempting to teach about (de)colonialism in/and digital humanities? What types of readings should make up a course list on decolonial digital humanities? What current digital projects should be shared with course participants? What types of skills should a decolonial digital humanities course offer to its participants? What kinds of hands-on components would participants find exciting and useful?


Unconference Session: (De)Colonialism and/in Digital Humanities

Date: Wednesday, May 16th at 12 noon

Location: Scholar's Studio, 2nd Floor, library

This unconference session will begin the crucial process of undoing the colonialism and colonization that are all-too-often found embedded within digital humanities frameworks, practices, and discourses. It will so do by:

  1. examining the ways in which colonial ideologies and extractive research methods are naturalized within hegemonic digital humanities principles and practices,
  2. introducing decolonial digital humanities pedagogies and insurgent research practices that session attendees can incorporate into their digital humanities tradecraft.

In this conversation, we will strive to destabilize dominant understandings of the digital by discussing wampum (Indigenous forms of treaty) as hypertext, and will consider the complexities of terms such as “postcolonial,” “decolonial,” “anti-colonial,” and “decolonizing” as they relate to digital humanities. The session’s suggested readings and discourse will privilege the voices of Black, Indigenous, and queer people of colour, and will celebrate the provenance of grassroots community movements and teachings.

Suggested readings:

  • Gaertner, David. “Why We Need to Talk about Indigenous Literature in the Digital Humanities.”
  • Gallon, Kim: “Making a Case for the Black Digital Humanities”
  • Haas, Angela M. “Wampum as Hypertext.”
  • Nieves, Angel. “DH in Practice: Spatial Humanities and Social Justice.”
  • Risam, Roopika. “Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and the Digital Humanities.”
  • Tuck, Eve and K. Wayne Yang. “Decolonization is not a metaphor”


Ashley Caranto Morford (she/her) is a queer of colour scholar. She is currently pursuing SSHRC-funded doctoral studies in the Department of English and the Book History program at the University of Toronto, where she is an uninvited occupant on the territories of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe nations. She is a member of the Visayan and Luzonese diasporas on her mother’s side, and is British on her father’s side. Her work is in relationship with Indigenous studies, digital humanities, and sexuality studies.

Arun Jacob is currently pursuing his M.A. (Cultural Studies and Critical Theory) at McMaster University. He is a technologist, communicator, artist and activist whose interests include but are not limited to studying the work ethic of digital labour, the anxiety of agile employment, machines learning karma, and developing critical literacies in media, communication and culture.