Excavating the Slave Experience: An Interactive Pedagogical Mapping tool

Hello all,

I just wanted to pass along the link to Excavating the Slave Experience, created collaboratively by MALS students, Monika Wright, Iris Finkel, and Tristen Goodwin, which explores how runaway slave advertisements could be digitally archived and recorded as a pedagogical tool to inform of the historically violent process of tracking black bodies as a source of free labor which can also be found within the Simone Browne piece. In thinking of Brown and Nakamura’s reading I’d love to further explore how digital tools can be used to combat systems of infrastructural, and digital inequality, specifically in Digital Humanities knowledge production. Furthermore, how interactive mediums can possess the capacity to counter the misconstrued identities of marginalized people as we continue to think of our own role as “Dh’ers”. As Nakamura points out the through the exploitation of Navajo women in the pursuit of capitalistic, consumption-based technology, it is the lack of acknowledgement in addressing historical inequality which is the foundation which continues to perpetuate cycles of  mis-representative narratives of marginalized people in association to labor in the digital world. Indigenous games scholar, Elizabeth LaPensée, talks about the process of “Digital Preservation” in her work of creating graphic novels and video games which re-appropriate traditional symbols of technology such as the classic Atari Space Invaders, and re-platforms narratives in a way which re-centers the perspectives of colonialism and stories of European conquest.  You can get a taste of this in her game Invaders in which you play as a Native person combating the “foreign” forces in the embodiment of space invaders (colonialists) with single-arrow bursts which translates the disorienting experience of making sense “alien” technology and the history of domination and conquest.

These tools of digital preservation may not be complete solutions in undoing systemic inequality, but can perhaps do the work of sparking the inquiry for individuals to delve further towards understanding issues outside of one’s experience.

2 thoughts on “Excavating the Slave Experience: An Interactive Pedagogical Mapping tool

  1. Dax Oliver

    Thanks for this link, Raven! That’s a powerful website. In some ways, I think the worst runaway slave ad in our country’s history is this one for Oney Judge, who ran away from George Washington *while* he was President:

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