Lisa Nakamura — “Indigenous Circuits: Navajo Women and the Racialization of Early Electronic Manufacture”

thumbnailInspired by media archaeologists such as Wolfgang Ernst and Friedrich Kittler, digital media studies has taken a turn towards the material, “Platform studies” pays attention to the digital apparatus’ conditions of making and possibility, but often leaves out reference to racial and gendered economies of labor in the digital industries. This presentation brings together platform studies and woman of color feminism by analyzing the visual cultures of electronic circuit production on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico from 1765-1975.

Lisa Nakamura is a Professor in the Department of American Cultures and the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research interrogates both the performance of and assumptions embedded in representations of race and ethnicity in digital media, particularly within gaming cultures. These issues are at the forefront of her books “Race After the Internet” (co-edited with Peter Chow-White), “Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet,” and “Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet.” Nakamura is currently investigating transnational racialized labor and avatarial capital in a “postracial” world through the lens of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.