**CANCELLED** Tuesday 3 March 2020 – Jennifer Guiliano (Indiana) – Difficult Heritage, Indigeneity, and the Complexities of Colonial-Centric Research

This seminar is cancelled due to UCU industrial action.

This seminar is 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, 3 March 2020, in Room N304, Institute of Historical Research. The IHR is in the North block of Senate House, University of London. Find Senate House on Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU. It will also be livestreamed on YouTube.

Session chair: TBC

Abstract: Native American Studies is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry exploring the history, culture, politics, issues, and contemporary experience of indigenous peoples. As such, it intersects with issues of access, preservation, and methodology that are problematized through the development and deployment of digital tools, methods and research. While tremendous work has been done around the preservation and access of analog materials within Native American and First Nations communities, in the U.S. there has been much less attention paid to the ways in which digital objects, practices, and methods function within Native communities and through scholarship about Natives. With the exception of the Murkutu content management system which originated with the Warumungu Aboriginal community in the Central Australian town of Tennant Creek, digital history and digital humanities have been largely separate from Native American Studies.

Exploring open access of Native American and Indigenous data through the concept of difficult heritage, this paper highlights how the open access data effort is inadequate and potentially perilous when considering not just the existence of NAIS collections but also their troubled status as colonial artifacts. In collaboration with anthropologist Carolyn Heitman, I argue that the rhetoric and practice of the open access data movement obscures both Native and Indigenous agency and sovereignty in determining the use of community materials as well as the role of technical determinism and automated computational access (e.g. APIs) in proliferating the violence of colonial archives on Native communities. We illustrate how “difficult heritage” can assist digital historians and digital humanists more generally in thinking through not just the design and implementation of digital projects for NAIS communities but also the impact of NAIS data diffusion through open access protocols. And importantly, we suggest that the question of providing humanities research data is not just the deployment of an ecosystemfor development, description, access, and reuse but a recognition that there are potentially multiple ecosystems of research and teaching that must exist simultaneously and be treated as part of a non-homogenous whole. Using case studies of NAIS data including Performing Archive: Curtis + “The Vanishing Race” and the Carlisle Indian School project of Dickinson College, we suggest that the desire to expand access to digital collections by, and about, Native peoples is both well-meaning and incredibly problematic. For communities of descent, the continued dissemination of images and artefacts of ancestors gathered during the colonial process has a contemporary impact.

Speaker bio: Dr. Jennifer Guiliano is a white academic living and working on the lands of the Myaamia/Miami, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Wea, and Shawnee peoples in Indiana. She received a Bachelors of Arts in English and History from Miami University (2000), a Masters of Arts in History from Miami University (2002), and a Masters of Arts (2004) in American History from the University of Illinois before completing her Ph.D. in History at the University of Illinois (2010). She currently holds a position as Associate Professor in the Department of History and affiliated faculty in both Native American and Indigenous Studies and American Studies at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2 Responses

  1. michael rowlands says:

    will it be rescheduled ?

    • ihrdighist says:

      Apologies for the very slow reply Michael. We hope so, depending on speaker availability.

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