Conceptions of identity, community, and space are given a new dimension in the digital age. Particularly since the mid 20th century, there has been a significant interest in the myriad ways that human identity is developed and expressed through technology. Researchers have adopted new tools and adapted old ones in order to account for the ways in which the digital serves to inform, organize, record, and explain both individual and communal identity. It is this flexibility to both adopt new tools and critically interrogate them that is at the center of digital humanities.
Understanding the continuity between the online and offline self, the impact of digital footprints in a globalized world, and the ways that technologies and digital tools both archive and participate in identity construction is central to the field. This impacts everything from consumerism to politics, due to the ubiquity of social media and digital presences.
Our newfound ‘digital citizenship’ impacts our lived experience: the social world is now larger than people – it is now about environments, platforms, data. Far from the assumption that technology is a neutral, equal opportunity tool, Emejulu and McGregor posit that we engage in a ‘radical digital citizenship’, where technology is a necessary part of debates about inequality and injustice (2016). The digital affects understandings of what constitutes ‘identity,’ while simultaneously informing the formations and expressions of these identities.
The academic implications for digital identity are innumerable. Pedagogy and techniques have adapted to digital platforms: last year’s conference topic – how tools for data visualization have become a core part of digital humanities studies – is also relevant here. From quantitative analysis of 'big data’ scraped from digital platforms to qualitative analysis of small groups and single users, the behaviours of digital bodies tell us much about identity and community online. There is also potential beyond research for this information, in terms of digital activism. Sites like Project Myopia use a critical understanding of identity and benefit from digital communities in order to function – in this case by crowdsourcing recommendations for a decolonized university curricula from online groups.
The 2018 New Perspectives conference seeks to explore aspects of digital identities including:
An overview of how scholarship/methodological approaches cater to the digital.
Understanding the meaning of identity in online versus offline communities - how does this understanding change how we use digital platforms?
How do digital communities facilitate connections between globally dispersed identities and cultures?
Digital Identities and inequalities/activism.
How are digital tools used to archive communal identities?
To what extent do digital tools condition identity?
How are Open and Big Data shaping Digital Identities?
Please contact us at email@example.com by February 28th, 2018. We are open to:
Individual papers (250-word abstract with a short academic bio, plus any specific requirements).
Panel proposals (250-word abstract with a short academic bio for each person, additional 250-word abstract for the panel as a whole, plus any specific requirements).
Digital art presentations/ demos/ posters suitable for projection (250-word abstract with a short academic bio, any relevant URLs, plus any specific requirements).
Date of Conference: 18 May 2018