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Drew University Welcomes Kaiama Glover

The scholar presented Caribbean Digital Praxis, a look into the digital humanities

February 2023 – Drew University closed out Black History Month by welcoming Kaiama Glover, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of French and Africana Studies and Faculty Director of the Digital Humanities Center at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Glover, who has written extensively about Caribbean literature, gender, and postcoloniality, presented Caribbean Digital Praxis, a tour of various digital initiatives created with the intent of building solidarity and sharing community knowledge.

“When Caribbean studies finds a home or refuge in many disciplinary contexts, it can also have great difficulty finding consistent institutional support,” said Glover. “Thinking digitally from the space of the Caribbean makes sense. As Caribbeanists, we are already accustomed to operating in ways that require thinking in interdisciplinarity.”

She is the founding co-editor of archipelagos, a journal of Caribbean digital praxis, and the founding co-director of the digital humanities project In the Same Boats: Toward an Afro-Atlantic Intellectual Cartography, which were among the digital initiatives presented.

Glover admitted that one of the key challenges in her digital humanities work is the question of how U.S. scholars can establish and sustain connection with regional collaborators who are situated in geo-cultural space in the Caribbean and the diaspora. “Social and ethical dimensions in building and sustaining communities and archives on the Caribbean and its diasporas are a consideration,” she said.

Glover shared some foundational truths when working in digital humanities. “It takes just as much human labor as the digital savvy, long term sustainability is costly and difficult, open access is not a given, crowdsourcing requires strict guidelines, the finite is your friend, and design innovation for design innovation sake is costly.”

“The Caribbean digital events have successfully expanded our network and community well beyond the bounds of U.S. academy and firmly into the Caribbean,” she said. “There’s to work to do to address the troubling imbalances that we need to guard against in all of these projects. Archives always have to be approached with a healthy degree of skepticism.”

Glover’s appearance was made possible by Drew’s Pan-African Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Digital Humanities, and Women’s and Gender Studies Endowment.

The event concluded with a Q&A session with the live audience.

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