Adeline Koh

Penn Humanities Forum Regional Fellow

20152016 Forum on Sex

Adeline Koh

Associate Professor of Literature
Stockton University

Adeline Koh is Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature at Stockton University. She works on the intersections of postcolonial studies, digital humanities, and literature. She is the Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at Stockton, and is the designer of Trading Races, a historical role-playing game designed to teach race consciousness. She is also co-founder of Postcolonial Digital Humanities, a collaborative website producing a new orientation for postcolonial analysis in the digital age. Outside of the regional Penn fellowship program, she has also held fellowships at Duke University and the National University in Singapore. She has published in venues such as differences, the Journal of Victorian Culture, French Forum, Hybrid Pedagogy and more. She is also a  core contributor to the ProfHacker column at the Chronicle for Higher Education.  During the fellowship, she will be working on a chapter on emotion and the development of disciplinary fields in her monograph Critical Histories of the Digital Humanities: Media, Science, Pedagogy, under contract with Northwestern University Press.

Emotions, Erotics and Constructing the Digital Humanities

This book chapter argues that major digital humanities scholars have deployed a discourse of disembodied rationality to deny the power of affect and emotion in determining what counts as digital humanities research. The work of sexuality studies scholars such as Gayle Rubin, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgewick, Audre Lorde, Sara Ahmed, Jack Halberstam and Sharon Holland has shown that this rationalized, disembodied discourse has been systematically used to deny the politics of bodily identification that place racialized, gendered and disabled bodies at the center of study. I use emotion and erotic theory by Ahmed and Lorde to argue for a strategic deployment of the erotic as a humanizing, community-building force within the digital humanities and to rethink the boundaries of the field.