What is digital anthropology and how is it shifting the directions of the discipline? This panels explores the definitions, approaches and theories behind digital methodologies and how digital tools are creating new statecrafts of agency, authority and representation.
Anthropologists Underberg and Zorn argue in their 2013 publication Digital Ethnography that "anthropologists were relatively slow to adopt the use of computers as well as to consider the effects of digital technology generally in their field" (p6). Yet the authors also point out that anthropologists are "best prepared to understand the impact of digital media on culture and to use their expertise in ethnographic methods to influence the use and even design of new technologies" (2013: 7) Given some of the major state projects to digitise aspects of human societies in the past decade, an exploration into digital anthropologies is more than topical and relevant. For example, digitisation projects by museums and cultural institutions make collections of objects, archives, audio and visual recordings and texts more available but only selectively available. How are shifting technologies creating or limiting community access to such state funded projects? How are Indigenous communities using new technologies to create their own sense of statehood? This panel aims to explore these issues through a selection of papers that address the many themes within the conference and the digital humanities field. This panel includes papers that address approaches, theories and methods of how digital tools are creating new forms of statecraft; case studies of how new media and/or new digital tools are being used to represent cultures; how cultural protocols are being exposed and/or protected in an open access/online world; and Indigenous policies surrounding art, artefacts and digital representation in the public sphere.