As we progress deeper and deeper into an age of data abundance, as what Simon Rogers describes a phenomenon of a “time in which we are all surrounded by data” with continued access to it, we are at the heart of a process of self-digitization, datafication, and online existence. Our move into cyberspaces and our dependence on digital platforms for information, communication, congregation, and self-design necessitate the crucial intervention of the Humanities as a discipline and a human-centered approach to understand what it means to be human in the digital age. The digital is both a place of empowerment and activism and a zone of constant vacillations of power mirroring the offline structures of colonial hegemony, patriarchy, and racial, gendered, and ethnic inequities.
Humanities as a discipline is always deeply reflective of the changing world order, and is consistently tasked with not merely defining the human in its complex and varied cultural contexts, but also with liberating the human, and disentangling traditional knowledge structures, ways and means of being. Given this transition to the digital era, questions in Humanities scholarship must tackle political, economic, and technological challenges that shape and are shaped by the human. This panel intends to open a dialogue on the role of Humanities as a discipline in examining human structures, cultures, and social traditions in the digital age. Some questions it attempts to tackle are: What does it mean to be human in a digitized world? How can Humanities as a discipline or humanities-oriented scholarship enable a rethinking of the human subject in digital futures? How is the self designed on digital platforms? How is collective identity / intersectional identity constructed digitally? How do communities congregate online? How do the human and the digital shape each other? How does online existence reflect offline realities?