Digital Media, Participatory Culture, and Difficult Heritage: Online Remediation and the Trans- Atlantic Slave Trade

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Publication details

JournalJournal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage
DatePublished - Sep 2015
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)260-278
Original languageEnglish


A diverse and changing array of digital media have been used to present heri- tage online. While websites have been created for online heritage outreach for nearly two decades, social media is employed increasingly to complement and in some cases replace the use of websites. These same social media are used by stakeholders as a form of participatory culture, to create communities and to discuss heritage independently of narratives offered by official institutions such as museums, memorials, and universities. With difficult or “dark” heritage— places of memory centering on deaths, disasters, and atrocities—these online representations and conversations can be deeply contested. Examining the web- sites and social media of difficult heritage, with an emphasis on the trans-Atlantic slave trade provides insights into the efficacy of online resources provided by offi- cial institutions, as well as the unofficial, participatory communities of stake- holders who use social media for collective memories.

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