Going Digital

Black Youth Are The Future

This post is practice for a Digital Pedagogy project I’m working on. I know, right? “What, me Digital Humanities?!”
The material I’m working on will form part of an open-access MLA digital publication/pedagogical resource (and it involves several layers of peer review in addition to the open audition I’m doing right here). This post is sort of a rehearsal for the draft version of a collection of “pedagogical artifacts” I’m “curating” around some “keyword(s)” of pedagogy for humanities in the digital age. The reason I just used up all my scare quotes is that it’s important for me to register my skepticism while also deferring to the experts who have done the work. When it comes to DH, I am tech literate and a quick study, but I haven’t acquired the skill-set to act as an innovator. On that end of the business, the LA Review of Books did a series of interviews with scholar-practitioners under the heading The Digital in the Humanities from which I highly recommend the discussions with my esteemed colleagues Dr. Jessica Marie Johnson and Dr. Marissa Parham. The go-to for an orientation to the field is Debates in the Digital Humanities, curated by Dr. Matthew Gold, who is also leading the MLA project. I think the scholars above engage in “practicing DH at a field-specific level, where DH work confronts disciplinary habits of mind,” and I’ll be happy to associate my forthcoming work with that objective.

**Now, to the matter at hand. One resource I recommend for teaching and learning through the digital is: **

The BYP100 Agenda to Build Black Futures

Agenda to Build Black Futures

  • URL: http://agendatobuildblackfutures.org/
  • Creator: BYP100/The Black Youth Project
  • Downloadable resource: http://agendatobuildblackfutures.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/BYP_AgendaBlackFutures_booklet_web.pdf

The Black Youth Project is a US-based membership organization for Black people ages 18-35 committed to a transformative, intersectional agenda for racial justice. The hashtag #BuildBlackFutures articulates an imperative to redirect our society’s shared resources, e.g. city and state spending, space, planning, away from incarceration and surveillance and toward the reparation and self-determination for Black communities. While direct actions that disrupt the status quo are an instrumental part of the BYP’s agenda, the Agenda to Build Black Futures marshals data, speculation, and narratives toward a powerful declaration of what is necessary to make Black communities thrive in the 21st century. You can download the agenda from their website. This isn’t just a document, however: the agenda is necessarily teachable, because informed action requires continued knowledge production and critique. Some of the resources you can use inside or outside the classroom, for teach-ins, and online include videos about what #BuildBlackFutures means and invitations to add your own content, editorials, shareable graphics for social media, and links to the intertexts that dialogue with the Agenda. Some questions that emerge out of the project include:
* What does #BuildBlackFutures mean to you? You can upload a video to the site on this topic.
* How data-driven are the Problems and Solutions outlined by the Agenda, and what do these data look like: at your local level, from prior historical moments in the United States, and at other locations in the world?
* Can you visualize or map the information that flows through this report–from its references, for example?

With many instructors and institutions seizing the moment to make Black Lives Matter in higher ed, the Agenda to Build Black Futures provides a window onto the kind of investigation and dissemination that teaching for social justice entails.

So there’s my first assay as part of this initiative. It’s also my first WordPress post composed with Markdown! Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re as inspired to learn from and about the transfer between knowledge and action happening in the Movement for Black Lives as I am.