So, a bit about me. I was raised mainly in Arizona in the burbs, went to ASU where I finally discovered what critical-thinking was all about it a great Religious Studies Program. I also did my first fieldwork with a group on the Pima Reservation involved in the Native American Church and thus my interest in the practical, activist side of academic life emerged. I am the child of two academics so it's not too crazy that I also became a Professor. I can't complain.
I went to UC Boulder for my Masters Degree and that is where I fell is love with snow, mountains and ethnography! I took an Aboriginal Ethnography class my second semester and decided right away that I wanted to do fieldwork in the Outback. There was no Internet to speak of then (gasp!) so I called (from a land line) the most famous Australian feminist anthropologist and arranged to meet her in Chicago at that year's AAA meetings. She pointed me to Tennant Creek, a remote town in the Central Australian desert. I went there in 1995 with a backpack and the goal of being of help to the community any way I could. The first two elder Warumungu women I met asked me to write "their book." Eights years, a Ph.D. , two kids and a tenure-track job later I did just that, publishing my ethnography of the Warumungu.
Since 2005 my work has taken on a decidedly "digital humanities" twist. Although I am quite critical of many of the celebratory narrative around DH I still find it a useful space for thinking through the cross between theory and practice through digital projects and platforms. In 2005 I worked with technologists and the Warumungu community to create the first version of what is now Mukurtu CMS a free and open source digital archive and content management platform that is built around the express needs of indigenous communities. I also direct the Plateau Peoples' Web Portal which is built off of Mukurtu and is a collaboratively curated online space dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Plateau Peoples with whom WSU holds an MOU. In 2011, I wrote an article, "Opening Archives," about the portal and the ways in which it disrupts normative archival practices.
Most recently I have been been working with legal scholars, WIPO and others to create a site, much like Creative Commons, that provides indigenous communities with a set of licenses and labels that suit their specific IP interests. The site, local contexts, is in development and will be live in the next 6 months. Until then, you can watch the TK video we produced about the traditional knowledge licenses that function with the Mukurtu platform now.
Like many of you, I am interested in digging deeper into the theoretical and practical implications and mobilizations of digital technologies, narratives and practices. I think the readings this semester will push us to unpack these intertwined theories and help us all work towards producing/making digital projects that take into accoun t