Oktober 28, 2014

The Potentials and Limitations for the Digital Humanities in Asia and Africa


THIS PAPER will describe applied ethnographic work in a number of Indonesian museums from 2006 through 2014. These projects have sought to advance the use of digital opportunities for advocating for research based on these museum collections so as to enhace the "knowledge sector" (as it is known in the development community).

The paper will assess the state of the four museums and their digital presence on the internet in terms of the Indonesian government's 2010-2014 museum revitalization program. In particular, the paper will review the cases of the Tsunami Museum in Aceh, the Provincial Museum in Jambi, the National Museum and the Museum Istiqlal (the National Islamic Museum also in Jakarta). Written based on experience in a state Islamic university during this applied research, the paper will detail the problems which limit the future of Indonesia museums and universities. Though there is significant potential to advance the education system in K-12 and univeristy environements and civic engagement in this context through the digital humanities, the current state of the field in this context is highly problematic.

By way of conclusion, for purposes of introducing a comparative perspective on the current state and potential of the digitial humanities in Asia and Africa, the paper will briefly compare the author's Indonesian experience with ongoing work in Africa which highlights the effective use of digital opportunities and social media at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.[]


Jonathan Zilberg, “The Potentials and Limitations for the Digital Humanities in Asia and Africa”, Paper presented at the Digital Frontiers 2014 Conference, Texas Woman’s University, Texas, September 18-19, 2014.

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