Dismantling Postcolonial Narratives

For my evaluation of a digital humanities project I chose Native Land Digital’s map of indigenous territories. The goal of this project is to spread awareness of indigenous territories in order to eliminate colonial ways of thinking in regards to cartography. Native Land Digital is a non-profit organization operating out of Canada. The organization is run by a man named Victor Temprano, the owner of the company Mapster. Victor’s company actively funds the project and the project contributors consist of an indigenous assortment of directors and a multi-racial board of consultants.  This project began in 2015 and is consistently updated. There is a disclaimer before accessing the map which invites viewers to correct or add any information on the map. The intended audience for this project consists of people of all races and countries in order to combat misinformation spread through European colonialism.  The map is separated by three sections; the first section regards indigenous territories, the second identifies various languages spoken by these indigenous people, and the third displays any treaties made between these nations and colonial empires. I believe this project could be widely successful due to it’s easy accessibility and actively dismantles colonial  philosophies and preconceived notions in regards to territorial boundaries. My only question for Native Land Digital would be where they receive their surplus of information from and how the establish it’s credibility.

Big Brother and the Digital Divide

Cody Zimmer

The digital age has completely revolutionized our lives both positively and negatively. Information is easily accessible, people are reading and writing on a much larger scale, and it is easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family no matter their geographical location. However, with the spread of the digital movement comes increased xenophobia, discrimination, and hate. The Euro-centric, heteronormative systems of oppression which have been woven into the fabric of American society are becoming digitalized.  The internet began as predominantly a space for upper-class white men and now, they hold sway over the information that gets released and the people who get “red-flagged” through the development of algorithms which closely monitor those who are viewed as socially threatening due to their race, sexuality, or income status. Virginia Eubanks warns us of the hidden algorithms which monitor every decision we make and illustrates how this contributes to the spread of legal and financial inequality. These algorithms are not only an infringement of our civil rights, but are inherently immoral. Everything we buy, view, like, or post is recorded and used as information to sort out potential threats to American society. There is no doubt in my mind that prestigious elites utilize these algorithms in order to maintain the economic immobility of capitalism and to secure their place at the top of the financial food chain. Eubanks elaborates this idea as she states, “digital tracking and automated decision-making hide poverty from the professional middle-class public and give the nation the ethical distance it needs to make inhuman choices. (15)”

In other words, people are getting taken advantage of by the immoral programs designed to restrain social mobility. We have abandoned any ethical notion of eliminating poverty and racism and have actually taken steps in the other direction in order to ensure that it never is eliminated and invisible. If these systems of inequality are not acknowledged or released to the general public, then it allows for them to continue to function. Yet, the more light that is shone on this topic will force people to deal with it, and maybe some social change could occur.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways do you feel that you are being “spied on” and through what social media/websites?
  2. What are some alternatives insurance agencies could use in order to secure against fraud without discriminating against people of low-income?
  3. Do you think people on Welfare should have their purchases monitored? Why or Why Not?

Hi, my name is Cody

Hi, my name is Cody and I am a senior at the State University of New York, Cortland. I am an English major with a minor in social philosophy. I am from Watertown, New York and I have a lot of bernese mountain dogs. After college I hope to get accepted into graduate school in order to become a professor.

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