“Who is to represent whom, and how?” Interview with Dr. marilyn thomas-houston

#RepresentationMattersblack and white headshot of marilyn thomas-houston, the Fall 2019 Triangle Digital Humanities Institute hosted by NCCU, is now in the books! If you missed the event, or are generally interested in the intersections of African American Studies and digital technology, check out this Triangle DH Network interview with visual anthropologist, digital Black Studies pioneer, and TDHI keynote Dr. marilyn thomas-houston. In her current capacity as Outreach Coordinator of the AFRO Publishing Without Walls project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dr. thomas-houston has worked extensively with Black Studies scholars, particularly those based at HBCUs, to publish their works in digital forms. Thanks to Stuart Parrish, NCCU student and Triangle Digital Humanities Network Assistant Writer, for the piece!

In a telephone interview Dr. thomas-houston shared her thoughts on the fall 2019 Institute’s theme #RepresentationMatters.

“Well, anthropology is all about representation to begin with!” she began. The scope of her scholarly work includes her specialization as a visual anthropologist, she points out, and this focus comes to bear across diverse uses of digital tools, including online publications and documentary productions as well as teaching how to use these tools and platforms for disseminating Black Studies and humanities scholarship. Two key issues she addresses on the topic of representation are “who is to represent whom, and how?” “Anthropologists represent the cultures and societies from the point of view of the actual people they are studying” says thomas-houston, “Rather than an ‘outside looking in’ perspective, they analyze from the inside, when explaining how things operate.”

Read the whole thing here.

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