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Decolonial Futures for Colonial Metadata, 1838-present

Institute of Historical Research Digital History Seminar, 21 May 2019 https://ihrdighist.blogs.sas.ac.uk/2018/08/james-baker-decolonial-futures-for-colonial-metadata-1838-present/

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Decolonial Futures for Colonial Metadata, 1838-present

  1. 1. Decolonial Futures for Colonial Metadata, 1838-present This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Exceptions: quotations, embeds from external sources, logos, marked images, slides marked with an alternative licence. James Baker Senior Lecturer in Digital History and Archives, University of Sussex
  2. 2. @j_w_baker Burton, Antoinette M. Dwelling in the Archive: Women Writing House, Home, and History in Late Colonial India. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Celik, Zeynep. ‘Colonialism, Orientalism and the Canon’. Art Bulletin 78:2 (1996) Greene, Candace S. ‘Material Connections: “The Smithsonian Effect” in Anthropological Cataloguing’. Museum Anthropology 39:2 (2016). Noble, Safiya Umoja. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press, 2018. Odumosu, Temi. Africans in English Caricature 1769-1819: Black Jokes, White Humour. London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2017. Perez, Emma. ‘Queering the Borderlands: The Challenges of Excavating the Invisible and Unheard’. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 24:2 (2003). Risam, Roopika. New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, 2019. Sutherland, Tonia. ‘Archival Amnesty: In Search of Black American Transitional and Restorative Justice’. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1:2 (2017). Turner, Hannah. ‘Organizing Knowledge in Museums: A Review of Concepts and Concerns’. Knowledge Organisation 44:7 (2017).
  3. 3. @j_w_baker Those who have the power to design systems - classification or technical - hold the ability to prioritize hierarchical schemes that privilege certain types of information over others Noble, Safiya Umoja. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press, 2018, 138-9 Image in copyright ©
  4. 4. @j_w_baker Images in copyright ©
  5. 5. @j_w_baker Images in copyright ©
  6. 6. @j_w_baker
  7. 7. @j_w_baker Metadata
  8. 8. @j_w_baker
  9. 9. @j_w_baker
  10. 10. @j_w_baker Paul Delsalle, A history of archival practice (2017), 108 Image ©
  11. 11. @j_w_baker As ledger books filled with catalogue records, new books were ordered, but there was little change in format over the span of more than 100 years and 93 volumes. Not until 1899 did “Sex” disappear and “People” make an entrance as a column header in the Anthropology catalogue. Greene, Candace S. ‘Material Connections: “The Smithsonian Effect” in Anthropological Cataloguing’. Museum Anthropology 39:2 (2016). Image in copyright ©
  12. 12. @j_w_baker sites.gold.ac.uk/library-blog/bad-dewey/ Maria O’Hara (2018) Image in copyright ©
  13. 13. @j_w_baker Image in copyright ©
  14. 14. @j_w_baker Mary Dorothy George (1878-1971) Image: © National Portrait Gallery, London
  15. 15. 'thorough and conscientious' (1932) 'having worked steadily' (1935) 'of great erudition’ (1935) ‘a very good reputation in the learned press’ (1935) ‘of permanent value to historical research' (1935) 'unremitting in the exacting labour & research' (1937) 'most valuable historical work' (1939) 'of the greatest documentary value to historians' (1939) ‘importance and arduousness of her work' (1947) 'unremitting' (1948) ‘excellent work' (1948) ‘her accustomed industry and accumulated learning' (1950) ‘a work of such distinction' (1951) @j_w_baker
  16. 16. @j_w_baker Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  17. 17. @j_w_baker The Hereditary Prince of Würtemberg, enormously corpulent, advances in profile to the l. towards the Princess Royal, his stomach supported on the bent back of a n___o servant in livery………… M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942) Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  18. 18. @j_w_baker “I suppose he has some German Method a rare Ram this to mend the Breed” M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942) Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  19. 19. “Mrs. George [..] is a married woman without Children, the wife of a portrait painter [..] and she is described as being a quick and accurate worker” Dodgson, Campbell. ‘Untitled Memo (Reports 1929-1931)’, 7 July 1930. British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings. Image: © Trustees of the British Museum @j_w_baker
  20. 20. Mary Dorothy George (1878-1971) Image: © National Portrait Gallery, London @j_w_baker
  21. 21. @j_w_baker The Hereditary Prince of Würtemberg, enormously corpulent, advances in profile to the l. towards the Princess Royal, his stomach supported on the bent back of a n___o servant in livery (cf. BMSat 5433), saying, I was come from Yarmony to love you dearly, and was take you to Yarmony to love me. The Princess (l.), stout but comely, regards him appraisingly, saying, Lord what a Porpoise Pho!!! The n__o, with clenched fists and contorted face, shouts: Oh Lord oh lord my Neck will break. I can't carry it any farther. The Prince's gold-laced embroidered waistcoat and his ribbon contribute to his grotesque appearance; his coat is dotted with stars and orders as in BMSat 9006. Behind (r.), a man holding a saw stands by a small table out of which a semicircular piece has been cut: he says, his face and gestures expressing alarmed astonishment: Egad they did well to order a piece to be cut out of the Table, or he never could have reached his Dinner, and how he will reach her, God only knows. I suppose he has some German Method a rare Ram this to mend the Breed [cf. BMSat 8827]. A patterned carpet and pictures on the wall complete the design M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942) Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  22. 22. @j_w_baker the (67,434), a (64,436), of (32,450), and (32,020), is (24,050), in (22,078), his (20,520), with (18,164), on (17,568), to (15,775), The (11,659), are (11,161), A (8881), by (7721), inscribed (7458), from (7268), which (6971), left (6596), right (6516), an (6428), at (6366), He (5571), stands (5377), her (4973), says (4816), who (4815), On (4699), he (4683), man (4500), two (4466), him (4310), hand (4272), head (4223), holding (3885), one (3841), holds (3773), as (3545), In (3317), behind (3083), large (3079), No (3000), other (2960), profile (2949), wearing (2880), hat (2862), saying (2832), up (2820), wears (2809), Behind (2792), has (2641), back (2573), sits (2328), it (2270), for (2177), out (2156), over (2154), table (2099), woman (1937), three (1892), towards (1873), or (1844), their (1815), design (1754), small (1711), that (1661), paper (1656), arm (1655), but (1635), Fox (1631), hands (1631), each (1629), title (1625), BMSat (1592), round (1589), men (1565), dressed (1559), them (1558), background (1542), extreme (1526), long (1514), His (1495), its (1433), looks (1431), ground (1398), stand (1362), Lord (1352), under (1340), Two (1337), See (1315), wall (1311), John (1306), &c (1296), have (1276), arms (1262), seated (1258), above (1255), She (1244), beside (1244), I (1234), Below (1221) Figure 1: The 100 most frequent words in the George corpus, with frequencies in brackets. The data published by ResearchSpace under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
  23. 23. @j_w_baker was, that, I, be, for, to, you, had, it, were, not, would, have, we, said, can, will, there, been, when, they, this, could, what, time, It, do, so, But, know, then, more, any, as, no, all, because, people, er, should, now, years, it's, got, work, about, if, such, get, did, or, don't, think, she, way, but, may, your, than, new, me, even, If, well, year, go, We, And, You, some, only, our, how, need, per, might, made, going, used, I'm, use, good, want, just, really, thought, It's, local, What, must, government, something, went, course, after, too, system, like, came, So Figure 2: a set of negative keywords extracted from the George corpus, i.e. words occurring unusually infrequently compared with the British National Corpus. The data published by ResearchSpace under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
  24. 24. @j_w_baker was, that, I, be, for, to, you, had, it, were, not, would, have, we, said, can, will, there, been, when, they, this, could, what, time, It, do, so, But, know, then, more, any, as, no, all, because, people, er, should, now, years, it's, got, work, about, if, such, get, did, or, don't, think, she, way, but, may, your, than, new, me, even, If, well, year, go, We, And, You, some, only, our, how, need, per, might, made, going, used, I'm, use, good, want, just, really, thought, It's, local, What, must, government, something, went, course, after, too, system, like, came, So Figure 2: a set of negative keywords extracted from the George corpus, i.e. words occurring unusually infrequently compared with the British National Corpus. The data published by ResearchSpace under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
  25. 25. @j_w_baker was, that, I, be, for, to, you, had, it, were, not, would, have, we, said, can, will, there, been, when, they, this, could, what, time, It, do, so, But, know, then, more, any, as, no, all, because, people, er, should, now, years, it's, got, work, about, if, such, get, did, or, don't, think, she, way, but, may, your, than, new, me, even, If, well, year, go, We, And, You, some, only, our, how, need, per, might, made, going, used, I'm, use, good, want, just, really, thought, It's, local, What, must, government, something, went, course, after, too, system, like, came, So Figure 2: a set of negative keywords extracted from the George corpus, i.e. words occurring unusually infrequently compared with the British National Corpus. The data published by ResearchSpace under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
  26. 26. @j_w_baker was, that, I, be, for, to, you, had, it, were, not, would, have, we, said, can, will, there, been, when, they, this, could, what, time, It, do, so, But, know, then, more, any, as, no, all, because, people, er, should, now, years, it's, got, work, about, if, such, get, did, or, don't, think, she, way, but, may, your, than, new, me, even, If, well, year, go, We, And, You, some, only, our, how, need, per, might, made, going, used, I'm, use, good, want, just, really, thought, It's, local, What, must, government, something, went, course, after, too, system, like, came, So Figure 2: a set of negative keywords extracted from the George corpus, i.e. words occurring unusually infrequently compared with the British National Corpus. The data published by ResearchSpace under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
  27. 27. @j_w_baker ███████████████████████████████████,█████████ ████████████,☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐,☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐*BRACKETED*,█████ ██*TRANSCRIBED*.☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐,█████████ ████████,█████████████████████████,███████,*TRA NSCRIBED*.█████████████████████████████████████ ████████████████████:*TRANSCRIBED*.█████████████ █████████████████████████████████████████████ █████████████████████████████████████████;███ █████████████████████████████████████████████ █████████.☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐,☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐: █████████████████████████████████████████████ █████████████████: *TRANSRIBED* *BRACKETED*.☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐ ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐. ☐ = spatial █ = non-spatial M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942)
  28. 28. @j_w_baker The Hereditary Prince of Würtemberg, enormously corpulent, advances in profile to the l. towards the Princess Royal, his stomach supported on the bent back of a negro servant in livery (cf. BMSat 5433), saying, I was come from Yarmony to love you dearly, and was take you to Yarmony to love me. The Princess (l.), stout but comely, regards him appraisingly, saying, Lord what a Porpoise Pho!!! The n__o, with clenched fists and contorted face, shouts: Oh Lord oh lord my Neck will break. I can't carry it any farther. The Prince's gold-laced embroidered waistcoat and his ribbon contribute to his grotesque appearance; his coat is dotted with stars and orders as in BMSat 9006. Behind (r.), a man holding a saw stands by a small table out of which a semicircular piece has been cut: he says, his face and gestures expressing alarmed astonishment: Egad they did well to order a piece to be cut out of the Table, or he never could have reached his Dinner, and how he will reach her, God only knows. I suppose he has some German Method a rare Ram this to mend the Breed [cf. BMSat 8827]. A patterned carpet and pictures on the wall complete the design M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942) Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  29. 29. @j_w_baker The Hereditary Prince of Würtemberg, enormously corpulent, advances in profile to the l. towards the Princess Royal, his stomach supported on the bent back of a negro servant in livery (cf. BMSat 5433), saying, I was come from Yarmony to love you dearly, and was take you to Yarmony to love me. The Princess (l.), stout but comely, regards him appraisingly, saying, Lord what a Porpoise Pho!!! The n__o, with clenched fists and contorted face, shouts: Oh Lord oh lord my Neck will break. I can't carry it any farther. The Prince's gold-laced embroidered waistcoat and his ribbon contribute to his grotesque appearance; his coat is dotted with stars and orders as in BMSat 9006. Behind (r.), a man holding a saw stands by a small table out of which a semicircular piece has been cut: he says, his face and gestures expressing alarmed astonishment: Egad they did well to order a piece to be cut out of the Table, or he never could have reached his Dinner, and how he will reach her, God only knows. I suppose he has some German Method a rare Ram this to mend the Breed [cf. BMSat 8827]. A patterned carpet and pictures on the wall complete the design M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942) Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  30. 30. @j_w_baker The Hereditary Prince of Würtemberg, enormously corpulent, advances in profile to the l. towards the Princess Royal, his stomach supported on the bent back of a negro servant in livery (cf. BMSat 5433), saying, I was come from Yarmony to love you dearly, and was take you to Yarmony to love me. The Princess (l.), stout but comely, regards him appraisingly, saying, Lord what a Porpoise Pho!!! The n__o, with clenched fists and contorted face, shouts: Oh Lord oh lord my Neck will break. I can't carry it any farther. The Prince's gold-laced embroidered waistcoat and his ribbon contribute to his grotesque appearance; his coat is dotted with stars and orders as in BMSat 9006. Behind (r.), a man holding a saw stands by a small table out of which a semicircular piece has been cut: he says, his face and gestures expressing alarmed astonishment: Egad they did well to order a piece to be cut out of the Table, or he never could have reached his Dinner, and how he will reach her, God only knows. I suppose he has some German Method a rare Ram this to mend the Breed [cf. BMSat 8827]. A patterned carpet and pictures on the wall complete the design M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 7 (1942) Image: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0, © Trustees of the British Museum
  31. 31. @j_w_baker With folded arms and bowed head he approaches from behind a hideous and grinning n____s (BM Satires 11131) Behind him stands a Jew with clenched fists (BM Satires 11421) M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 9 (1949) A Jew pedlar has fallen, scattering his wares (BM Satires 13443) a picture of three missionaries standing under palm- trees and addressing savages (BM Satires 15362) M. Dorothy George, Catalogue Vol 10 (1952)
  32. 32. @j_w_baker Figure 4: Showing how the George corpus tends to describe men as stout and elderly, and women as fat and old. The data published by ResearchSpace under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
  33. 33. @j_w_baker Mary Dorothy George (1878-1971) Image: © National Portrait Gallery, London
  34. 34. @j_w_baker britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx Image: © Trustees of the British Museum
  35. 35. @j_w_baker makingafricanconnections.org
  36. 36. @j_w_baker If the archive itself is a technology of colonialism, can the creation of new archives resist reinscribing its violence? Roopika Risam, New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy, 2019, 50. Image in copyright ©
  37. 37. @j_w_baker
  38. 38. @j_w_baker
  39. 39. @j_w_baker Image in copyright ©
  40. 40. @j_w_baker
  41. 41. @j_w_baker
  42. 42. @j_w_baker © Royal Engineers Museum
  43. 43. @j_w_baker Caroline T. Schroeder, ‘Shenoute in Code: Digitizing Coptic Cultural Heritage for Collaborative Online Research and Study’, Coptica 14 (2015). Dot Porter, ‘Hosting the Digital Rāmamālā Library at Penn, or, Thinking about Open Licenses for Non- Western Digitized Manuscripts’, Dot Porter Digital (blog), 2017, dotporterdigital.org/?p =403.
  44. 44. @j_w_baker
  45. 45. @j_w_baker Histories that aim to displace a hyperreal Europe from the center toward which all historical imagination currently gravitates will have to seek out relentlessly this connection between violence and idealism that lies at the heart of the process by which the narratives of citizenship and modernity come to find a natural home in "history” Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, N.J.; Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2007), 45 Image in copyright ©
  46. 46. Decolonial Futures for Colonial Metadata, 1838-present This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Exceptions: quotations, embeds from external sources, logos, marked images, slides marked with an alternative licence. James Baker Senior Lecturer in Digital History and Archives, University of Sussex

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