DH seminar: Critical Infrastructures – Anna Foka

Date: 8 May 2018

Time: 13:30-15:00

Location: K1213 (Building k, Växjö)

Online participation: https://connect.sunet.se/dhseminars/

Anna Foka, an associate professor in Information Technology and the Humanities at HUMlabUmeå University (Sweden), is the next guest lecturer of Digital Humanities (DH) seminar series. Her lecture titled “Critical Infrastructures” will be held on 8 May 2018, 13:30-15:00 in local K1213 (Building k, Växjö).


Within the project Digital Models, one of the tasks of archivists and researchers is to digitize Carl Sahlin’s mining history personal archival collection. Carl Sahlin (1861-1943) was a businessman, a distinguished industry historian and a metallurgist. Carl Sahlin’s historical collection contains about 1800 archive capsules of mining history from the 1100s to the 1930s.  This article identifies a number of issues related to digitization, most notably the discrepancies between this physical archival collection, its organization and its digital rendering. Infrastructure is discussed as connected mixed and vast nature of the archive: archive capsules are filled with press clippings, financial documents, correspondence, travel books, contracts, articles, maps, literature, stamp books, interviews with neat notes by Carl Sahlin himself. This article then offers an analysis of the discrepancies between critical versus mass digitization: while the museums need to increase the materials that are supposed to be digitized, research often dictates experimentation and a critical methodology of selection and digitization. In this talk I precisely concentrate on the presence of women in the archive. What is primarily addressed here are what can be coined Infrastructural Tensions- a term borrowed by critical digital disruption and organizational studies. Concluding, the article offers a number of recommendations on how to rethink the collection with digital technology in a critical way so as to include social/intellectual categories that correspond to critical research questions in the 21st century. I finally stress the importance of using current digital technology and inter-operatable platforms to open up the collection to a wider public (practices, prototype, social media) and to engage with the international community interested in social history so as to playfully bring critical gender studies perspectives on Sweden’s industrial and mining history museum collections.

Anna Foka is an associate professor at Information Technology and the Humanities, HUMlabUmeå University, Sweden. Her latest project is funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation and investigate movement, transformation, and crisis through the prisms of digital technology and ancient history using the second-century CE Description of Greece (Periegesis Hellados) of Pausanias. Her broad research interests include cultural and social history, history for different frames, interfaces, and platforms, constructions and perceptions of socio-cultural identities, historical concepts of gender and sexuality and the relationship between historical culture(s) and contemporaneity. She is currently researching identity as a spatial, social, and ethno-racial assignment and digital research infrastructures. She is mostly interested in the implications of adopting fast-pacing digital technology for knowledge production organizations a.k.a. Digital Research Infrastructures (academia, schools, museums, archives, gaming, film etc).

About the DH seminar series:

The Digital Humanities (DH) seminar series is aimed at providing a forum for relevant DH discussion in the region and beyond, inspiring collaboration with wider audiences about the emerging field of DH field and University’s DH Initiative, thus both strengthening the DH Initiative’s established network, as well as creating a space for collaboration between universities and cross-sectoral partners at national and international levels. Please find more information at: https://lnu.se/en/research/searchresearch/digital-humanities/dh-seminars/.

The Seminars are open to everyone, but we would appreciate if you would register your attendance via dh_AT_lnu.se. The online participation is available at: https://connect.sunet.se/dhseminars/.

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