The Being and Becoming of Rhizomatic Digital Humanities in Majority Worlds

Dr. Dibyadyuti Roy speaking

In this open seminar hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s CDCS Digital Social Science Cluster, Dr Dibyadyuti Roy founding member of India’s first DH collective, the Digital Humanities Alliance for Research and Teaching Innovations (DHARTI), presents ‘The Being and Becoming of Rhizomatic Digital Humanities in Majority Worlds’.

First broadcast on 6 April 2022

Chaired by Nicola Osborne



Normative Digital Humanities conversations continue to elide that the being and becoming of DH in majority worlds, is primarily through acts of self-identification and not through previous affiliations to existing big tents (Ramsay). In expanding upon Melissa Terras’ critique of a “big tent [in DH]” as a “a transitory spectacle” (Terras 2011), this talk will explore how the ontological and epistemic legacies of “big tents” and similar privileged infrastructures can be challenged in the domains of DH pedagogy, research, and practice. Dr. Dibyadyuti Roy will begin by contextualising the rhizomatic teleology of Indian DH, as a case study, where the doing(s) and making(s) of DH are made challenging: due to the alignment of digital tools, techniques, and objects with their colonial legacies and the imperialist associations between rationality, technology, and the scientific imagination (Prakash 1999).

Following this introductory gambit, Dr Roy will adopt an autoethnographic methodology as the analytical fulcrum to leverage his experiences as a DH scholar and discuss three recent and ongoing projects that include: 1) assessing the online and offline impact of governmental health promotion campaigns in India during the Covid 19 pandemic, 2) analysing performances of anxious postcolonial masculinity in online video games, and 3) creating an archive of minority voices against radioactive colonization in India. Dr Roy will demonstrate through the seemingly diverse trajectories of these interventions how all of them organically emerge from and contribute toward the possibilities and limitations of postcolonial digitality, which he defines as the realization of digital affordances within “low resolution” postcolonial contexts (Singh and Jackson 2021). In the final part of this talk, Dr Roy juxtaposes his research in DH with my identity as a community oriented DH pedagogue and his continuing outreach as the founding member of India’s first DH alliance, the Digital Humanities Alliance for Research and Teaching Interventions(DHARTI). In a polemic conclusion, Dr Roy will foreground that DH in majority worlds must foreground lived experience(s) as/in theory and practice, while actively eschewing mechanisms, checklists, or hegemonic metrics that exclude issues and individuals who are already marginalized by major structural forces.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Dibyadyuti Roy is an accomplished scholar and educator with over a decade’s experience of working in multidisciplinary academic environments across USA, UK, and India. His public facing research profile is transdisciplinary with specializations in New Media and Digital Humanities, Global South Masculinities, and Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies. He is the founding member of India’s first DH collective, the Digital Humanities Alliance for Research and Teaching Innovations (DHARTI) and spearheaded India’s first DH conference, the inaugural Twitter conference on DH in India(#DHARTITwitterConf) as well as the recently concluded #DHARTI2022 Conference. He leads public outreach initiatives for DH across offline and online platforms including the DHARTISpeaks! Webinar series. Dibya has forthcoming publications in the Global Debates in DH series, in the volume on DH pedagogy from the University of Minnesota Press and a chapter in the volume on DH laboratories from Routledge.

His other published work can be found in prestigious venues such as Health Promotion International, Gender, Place and Culture, Feminist Media Studies, Interventions, South Asian Review and the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, to name a few. He is currently an Assistant Professor in India’s first Master and PhD program in DH at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur.

Click here to view ‘The Being and Becoming of Rhizomatic Digital Humanities in Majority Worlds’ directly on Media Hopper Create



Header Image: Screenshot from the open lecture