Don’t Make Room at the Table, Flip It

 “As opposed to meeting people where they are, where people of color, women, people with disabilities are already engaged in digital projects, there’s a making of room at an already established table.”

“All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave” – Moya Z. Bailey

This quote really caught my eye when I first read Bailey’s article. As a student of the humanities and pursuing archaeology and classics as a career, this topic of creating a more accessible field for those who have yet to have a seat at the proverbial table is often on my mind. This conversation unfortunately often revolves around the question “who is missing from the table?” when in reality, the voices in question are not actually as absent as the community thinks. Those voices are there, those archaeologists and classicists and digital humanists are involved in the field, but simply amidst the voices of the more privileged community. Rather than, as the quote suggests, meeting those who need to be heard where they are and lifting up their projects and voices, a seat at the proverbial table is made. This table is unnecessary. I understand that it is a metaphor, but it is one that enforces the idea that platforms will be given to those who need them when the more privileged community decides it is time. Those being excluded from the conversations in this field continue to demand their voices should be heard, but accommodations are not made for those in question. How are these fields – archaeology, classics, and digital humanities – actually expanding and adapting for women, for people of color, for people with disabilities? The time has certainly come for this table to be, as suggested by the title, flipped by those who demand and deserve space within these fields. Again, my point and Bailey’s point is not that digital humanists of all kinds are excluded from the field itself and not doing research or work, but rather that the issue of diversity should focus less on the question “who is missing?” and more on the question “how do we accommodate those already here?”

In this class, I’m really looking forward to not only the practical knowledge that will be useful going forward, but also delving into the field of digital humanities. I know it is a field both without a definition and with many definitions, but there is an opportunity in this class to expand the field and be met as students from every background as digital humanists right where we are – not taking a seat at the table, but flipping it.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your post, MJ! I think it’s very insightful – and true – that engagement from women, BIPOC, those with disabilities, and other marginalized communities in the DH realm has long been there. It isn’t always a matter of “who’s missing” (as you well articulated), but how to amplify these voices and contributions that have already existed and continue to exist.

  2. Very interesting post MJ! As a student of color I really appreciate the work that you are doing here. I really like your point of accommodating the people at the table, especially since this is a way to say that is not enough to “recognize” or simply “include” marginalized groups at the table; instead we should make sure that everyone at the table is able to participate and not just sit there.

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