CSDH/SCHN takes seriously the statement made by the Black Canadian Studies Association (BCSA) that an online Congress of the Humanities would be ineffectual and inappropriate, particularly as the online format would make it impossible to properly engage Congress’s theme of Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism. The CSDH/SCHN PC agrees with their statement and remains committed to confronting and redressing colonialism and anti-Black racism in our scholarly practices and activities as a community. As a component of that practice, this online conference is being hosted independently and is not associated with the Congress of the Humanities. We are also committed to continuing to engage questions of colonialism and anti-Black racism on our campuses, in our institutions, and in our research. This has particular importance for the field of DH, in which the relationship between the humanities and colonial concepts of the ‘human,’ the use of algorithms to justify racist and discriminatory social practices, and the use of data to police people of colour are just some of the ways in which our methodologies intersect with questions of racism and colonialism. We will, therefore, call on the Congress of the Humanities to make Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism the theme of the 2021 Congress.
The CSDH/SCHN 2020 PC sees this shift to an online conference as an exciting opportunity to use the web for exactly what it was meant for: connections. The new theme, Building Community Online, represents not only what we are trying to do with this conference, but what many of us do in our everyday work. An online conference allows those who might not have been able to attend in person to join us in conversations about new and exciting forays into DH work in Canada and beyond. We invite you to join us as we engage each other across provinces and territories, cities and towns, and build our CSDH/SCHN community online.