"Presumed Neutrality?" considering racialised slavery and freedom on Wikidata
10-30, 20:00–20:25 (UTC), Room 3

Digital Humanities projects about racialised chattel slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade often make claims of being "decolonial" and "reparative" while modelling data about enslaved people that continues to replicate and encode the dehumanisation and commodification of enslaved persons, while excluding and restricting Afrodescendents from contributing to and accessing these projects, their significant resources and potential benefits.

This talk will expand on Black digital practice (identified by Jessica Marie Johnson in her important paper "MarkUp Bodies") in the Wikimedia communities and introduce the possibilities of 'WikiProject Chattel Enslavement and Freedom' that aims to:
• improve how data about enslaved people, self-liberated people, and the histories of racialised chattel slavery is modelled and structured
• address the knowledge debt around the knowledge production and intellectual histories of enslaved persons and their communities
• support the development of ethical approaches to data modelling about enslaved persons, enslavement and freedom on Wikidata

Link to notes


What will the participants take away from this session?
  • concepts of knowledge justice and knowledge debt
  • awareness of Black digital practice
  • potential harms of data modelling about enslaved persons
  • criticism of exsisting data modelling around enslaved persons, racialised chattel slavery and freedom




Kelly has been contributing to Wikimedia projects since 2012 and is an active community organiser.