Lessons from Global, Pre-Modern, Jewish Digital Humanities

Lessons from Global, Pre-Modern, Jewish Digital Humanities

Dorothy Kim

Presentation at Michigan State University’s Global Digital Humanities Symposium, April 2016 (http://msudh.github.io/globaldh2016). Abstract/Description for presentation: In Antoinette Burton’s collection Archive Stories: Facts, Fiction, and the Writing of History, she writes that “all archives are figured” and that the underlying issue at stake in the volume is that objectivity associated with the traditional archive pose a challenge which must be met in part by telling stories about its provenance, its histories, its effect on its users, and above all, its power to shape all the narratives which are to be ‘found’ there. My talk today will consider how archive stories work within a global, pre-modern Jewish digital humanities ecosystem. In particular, if the pre-modern, global Jewish diaspora functions as a minority culture globally, what are the stakes and the lessons that can be gleaned with fixed documentary archives in creating a global historical past? How do minority histories get figured and how does working in a pre-modern global past help show both the affordances and pitfalls of “figuring” a polyvocal, multicultural global past? How does the Anglo-centric bent of contemporary digital humanities help and/or hinder the multicultural, multicultural, multi-directional, and multilingual qualities of these archives? In particular, I will discuss what the Cairo Genizah project has done to open up issues related to pre-modern global African histories—in conjunction with the manuscript archives of Mali and the deep manuscript histories and continuous Ge’ez archives of Ethiopia.



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