CFP: Neoliberal Tools or New Humanistic Critique? Toronto, May 25 – 27, 2017

“Neoliberal Tools or New Humanistic Critique? Theorizing Class, Race, and Nation in the Digital Humanities”

Mikinaakominis / TransCanadas. University of Toronto, May 25 – 27, 2017

In recent years in Canada, the digital humanities has enjoyed increasing popularity as a tool for teaching, researching, and disseminating texts, and also a means of generating collaborative scholarship across disciplinary borders. However, the digital humanities, and perhaps its practitioners, have recently been described as a collection of neoliberal tools whose “institutional success has for the most part involved the displacement of politically progressive humanities scholarship and activism in favour of the manufacture of digital tools and archives.” Do the digital humanities represent a displacement of critical questions of power in favour of a cloistered technological positivism? Are the digital humanities a trojan horse for a creeping neoliberal erosion of the humanities, or a framework that makes possible humanistic critique of the alleged value of ‘knowledge mobilization’? What vision of the humanities is at stake in this digital work and how might it be reinvigorated through a critical engagement with theories of race, class, and Indigeneity?

This panel invites papers that investigate these, and other, questions that attempt to theorize the digital humanities in our contemporary context. We are particularly interested in papers that consider how theories of diaspora, Indigeneity, race, and nation are represented within, while also transforming the articulation of, digital humanities and its practices. We also hope to stimulate discussion around the latent forms of humanism within the digital humanities: how might this digital turn represent a new form of Said’s “worldliness” that infuses humanism with a new vocabulary of critique? Along these lines, how can the tools of digital technology be used to further theoretically critical and culturally progressive projects, specifically in the Canadian context? We are interested in both traditional conference papers and presentation or critique of digital projects that engage the aforementioned questions.

Please send paper proposals to Kate Siklosi at or Paul Barrett at by Thursday July 14th.