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The Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities: Digital Storytelling Colloquium


Beyond the Dots: Data Stories of Migration

Guest lecture by Roopika Risam, Associate Professor of Secondary and Higher Education and English at Salem State University



With the prodigious amount of data about contemporary migration currently available through sources like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, migration has been subject of numerous data visualizations. Rhetorical and technical choices made in these visualizations have positioned refugees and forced migrants as instigators of a “crisis.” In doing so, these forms of data storytelling displace the geo-political, colonial, and neo-colonial causes of migration onto refugees themselves, positioning them as “problems.” In this talk Risam explores the narrative dimensions of migrant data. What does it mean to tell migrant narratives through data? What kinds of migrant narratives do data-driven approaches facilitate and what narratives are obscured through data-driven approaches? And what kinds of data storytelling approaches foster the agency of migrants?



Roopika Risam is Chair of Secondary and Higher Education and Associate Professor of Education and English at Salem State University. Her research interests lie at the intersections of postcolonial and African diaspora studies, humanities knowledge infrastructures, and digital humanities. Risam is the author of New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy (2018), and co-editor of Intersectionality in Digital Humanities (2019) and The Digital Black Atlantic for the Debates in the Digital Humanities series (2021).


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Hosted by the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, the Digital Storytelling Colloquium is a series of virtual events focused on the ethics, politics, and techniques of digital storytelling. Across all events, the vision of the colloquium is to build a community of inquiry and an incubator for ideas. 

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