William Lempert F'17
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2017
University of Colorado Boulder
Broadcasting Indigenous Futures: The Social Life of Aboriginal Media
What would it mean to have anthropologies of the future centered around media produced by and with those most associated with the distant past? Indigenous future imaginaries are essential for constructive Aboriginal policy-making, as well as providing insight into a global era increasingly defined by apocalyptic rhetoric. This dissertation engages Indigenous futurity and the rise of two national Aboriginal television networks through 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork with Indigenous media organizations in the Kimberley region of Northwestern Australia. Through collaborative filmmaking within production teams, this research illustrates the stakes of contemporary Indigenous representation embedded within the daily practices of dozens of diverse media projects. By following the life cycles of these films as they travel through time and space between remote communities, towns, and national film festivals, this project aims to understand the paradoxical proliferation of hopeful future-oriented Aboriginal films amidst the current mass defunding of their communities and organizations.