[globaloutlookDH-l] Where is the nation in postcolonial digital humanities?

Ernesto Priego efpriego at gmail.com
Tue Jan 21 10:47:13 MST 2014


Hello Alex, all,

Thanks for sharing this post with the list. I read it yesterday and I
thought it was a very interesting post. The questions Barrett asks at the
end are relevant.

However, I hope you don't mind a sincere and personal reply inspired by the
emotions and thoughts that reading this article provoked in me over the
last few hours and which I haven't been able to express anywhere else.
Below are just some disjointed ideas.

I find concepts such as "post-national" really troublesome. On a personal
and political level the concept annoys me; it upsets me. What are the
pre-required affordances for "post-nationalism"? What is really meant by
this? (and with this question I don't mean "let's read closely the key
authors who have used this terms to find out how to understand the term
properly"). It seems to me that more than ever the concept and reality of
Nation (the country where one was born and one has a identification
document from) imposes very concrete conditions that in my opinion render
the idea of post-nation as Utopianism.

As someone who has travelled (in a very limited scale) with a Mexican
passport for some 20 years, I have never been in a situation in which I can
say that the concept of "Nation" has been left behind. On arrival to other
countries, my wife, colleagues, friends go through a queue which is
different than mine. Often, they have to wait for me to be finally allowed
in. Last year in Vancouver, I was the only passenger from the whole plane
who had to go through two different border checks including an extended
interrogation that was triggered by the words "Mexican academic".

In the digial sphere, I continuously witness the consolidation of
localisms, parochialisms and a general lack of interest in what happens
outside "the Developed World". Everyday I grow more and more disappointed
at how the "World Wide Web" is not really international nor global nor, er,
"postnational".

I have gradually lost interest in much of the theory that as a young
student fascinated me (this includes postcolonialism). I think there is an
implicit symbolic violence in the proliferation and popularity of terms
that really do not mean much when contrasted to the reality of millions,
not only stateless persons and refugees, but also regular people of all
walks of life and social classes who are denied freedom of transit and
other human rights precisely because of their nationality. Post-national
DH? Post-national subjectivities?  I doubt it very, very much. Maybe for a
happy few, or for the citizens of nations whose passports are welcome by
treatises around the world, but not for millions of others.

Thanks for reading.

Best,

Ernesto








*Dr Ernesto Priego*Lecturer in Library Science
Acting Course Director, MSc/MA Electronic Publishing, City University
London

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On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 5:01 PM, Alex Gil <colibri.alex at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> Here's a post by Paul Barrett which offers some thoughts on the (possible)
> role of the nation in DH. I hope you find it useful:
>
>
> http://dhpoco.org/blog/2014/01/20/where-is-the-nation-in-postcolonial-digital-humanities/
>
> My hellos from cold NYC,
> A.
>
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