March 23, 2017: Jessica Marie Johnson, “Fugitives in the Machine: Teaching Black Resistance in a Digital Age”
Vanderbilt Center for Digital Humanities
Thursday, March 23, 4:10 pm
Fugitives in the Machine: Teaching Black Resistance in a Digital Age
Enslaved people of African descent imagined that another world was possible–and then sought to
“make this world anew.” What does it mean to teach those histories of slavery in a moment where historicized narratives from the period of bondage circulate on multiple screens? Digital and social media increasingly lay the foundation for public engagement with stories of black resistance, even as human engagement with digital technology likewise provokes questions around issues of trust, surveillance, empathy, and overexposure. Histories of slavery in digital context–and historians of slavery as teachers, collaborators, and creators in a digital world–have the potential to serve as cautionary tales, prophecies, and guidebooks around and through all of these issues…if they dare to dive into the machine.
Jessica Marie Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and History at Johns Hopkins
University. Her work has appeared in Slavery & Abolition, The Black Scholar, Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism, and Debates in the Digital Humanities. As a digital humanist, Johnson explores ways digital and social media disseminate and create historical narratives, in particular, comparative histories of slavery and people of African descent.