Exploring discontinuity in digital representations of Sarah Baartman: a critical posthumaninst perspective on the ‘Hottentot Venus’ and the implications for digital curation
Richard Higgs will present the Department of Archaeology seminar with a talk entitled, "Exploring discontinuity in digital representations of Sarah Baartman: a critical posthumaninst perspective on the ‘Hottentot Venus’ and the implications for digital curation".
Discontinuity is an inherent, constitutive and distinctive property of digital signals. Despite the illusion of continuity created by virtuality in electronic media, any digital information is necessarily fragmented; a fragmentation that persists through signal, medium, space, time and sense-making in any digital representation. My research explores the implications of digital discontinuity for the curation of surrogate and derivative artefacts of a selected historical phenomenon: the exhibition and (re)construction of Sarah Baartman as the ‘Hottentot Venus’. A critical posthumanist lens on the topic seeks to avoid both the techno-euphoria of transhumanism and the Enlightenment humanist agenda that led to the ethically reprehensible co-option of a Black female body. It seeks to problematise the assumptions that are often implicit in representing the past in the digital present.
Richard Higgs is a lecturer in the Department of Knowledge & Information Stewardship in the Faculty of Humanities. He specialises in Digital Curation, but also lectures in the Library and Information Studies courses. He holds a Masters in Creative Writing from UCT and a Masters in Language Sciences from the University of Montpellier, France. He has worked in many fields, including as a high school teacher and management consultant. He is currently working on his PhD on the topic of digital representations of the so-called Hottentot Venus.
Mon, 22 Jul 2019 - 13:00
Rm. 3.10, 3rd floor of the Beattie building, Upper Campus UCT
Science Faculty Level 6, PD Hahn Building
University of Cape Town Contact us