Digital Humanities as Restorative Social Justice: Virtual Heritage, 3D Reconstructions and South Africa’s Township Histories

In 2013 a group of scholars from across the US approached the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) with a proposal for a new special interest group (or SIG) with a focus on social justice and human rights. As a step forward, the group developed an “advisory document for building collaborative projects, conducting events, gathering sensitive data, and composing scholarly communications with social justice issues and human rights in mind.” This talk will argue for a more engaged form of digital scholarship that promotes social justice praxis.

Angel Nieves is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Hamilton College and current co-director of Hamilton's Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi). Nieves’ scholarly work and community-based activism critically engages with issues of memory, heritage preservation, gender and nationalism at the intersections of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South. Nieves is the associate editor of Fire!!!: A Multimedia Journal of Black Studies, an online journal of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

His most recent research explores the building of a multimodal information environment to discuss Soweto’s past, present, and future redevelopment – addressing cultural practices of remembrance, reconciliation and empowerment with a view towards an integrative approach to social justice and the practice of digital humanities scholarship. Nieves completed his doctoral work in architectural history and Africana Studies at Cornell University.

This lecture is presented as part of Amherst's 5CollDH Speaker Series

The Five College Digital Humanities Speaker Series for the 2014-2015 academic year explores politics, poetics and urgency in the study of digital cultures.

Angel David Nieves, Ph.D.

Co-Founder & Former Co-Director, Digital Humanities Initiative, Hamilton College

Angel David Nieves, Ph.D. is  co-founder and former Co-Director of Hamilton’s Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) which is recognized as a leader among small-liberal arts colleges in the Northeast (see,  As Co-Director, he has raised over $2.7 million dollars in foundation and institutional support for digital humanities scholarship at Hamilton.  He is also Research Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.  He taught in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 2003-2008.  Nieves’s scholarly work and community-based activism critically engage with issues of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South.  His co-edited book “We Shall Independent Be:” African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the U.S. was published in 2008.  He is completing a manuscript entitled, An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South, with the University of Rochester Press for their series “Gender and Race in American History” (forthcoming, 2018).  Nieves is also currently working on a new volume in the Debates in the Digital Humanities Series and on a special collaborative issue of American Quarterly (2018) on DH in the field of American Studies.  He is co-editor (w/Kim Gallon, Purdue) of a new book series at the University of Georgia Press, The Black Spatial Humanities: Theories, Methods, and Praxis in Digital Humanities.  He serves on the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) Committee on Information Technology (2016-2019).  He was most recently appointed to the Board of New York State’s Humanities Council (2017-2020).  His digital research and scholarship have been featured on and in Newsweek International.His digital scholarship can be found at