Christen and Hennessy on Issues in Digital Ethnography
The new (April 2009) issue of Anthropology News features an exceptionally large amount of interesting material. I have not digested it all, but I want to point to the first two articles. Leading the issue is a piece by Kimblery Christen titled “Access and Accountability: The Ecology of Information Sharing in the Digital Age. It is a great short and accessible summary of her key arguements about possibility and responsibility in collaborative ethnographic work. It builds on the remarkable range of practical, technical and theoretical projects that she has been pursuing for a number of years. (These have been a regular topic on this site and her own website provides a rich introduction.)
The second paper–a wonderful companion to the first–is “Virtual Repatriation and Digital Cultural Heritage” by Kate Hennessy. I builds on collaborative media projects that she and Amber Ridington have been pursuing with a Canadian First Nations community. This piece is a powerful complement to the Dane Wajich site and other projects that they have pursued because it offers a glimpse behind the scenes at the kinds of challenges these efforts can entail.
I recommend both of these contributions highly. They showed up in my mailbox on Monday and I was teaching with them on Tuesday. Kim and Kate (and their project partners) are doing amazing work.