First smitten with the field of anthropology upon learning about bonobos (a breed of chimpanzee that literally makes love not war), I have found myself drawn toward theories of neotribalism, liminality/communitas, and proxemics (the study of the distance people feel is necessary to put between themselves and others). For my masters in Anthropology at Wesleyan University, I conducted ethnographic research on the online social networking sites MySpace, Facebook, and Tribe.net. My virtual ethnography can be viewed or downloaded at The Virtual Campfire.
For my dissertation research, I am devising a multi-sited ethnography of alternative / intentional / resilient communities based on technomadic field research methods, collaborative guerrilla media production/recording/broadcasting, community-based co-teaching participatory research models, and self-organizing semi-permanent autonomous zones. The result is to be a kind of “posthuman ethnographic mashup” that incorporates multimedia archives and community documents, the social organization of networked space, web-based communication tools and collaborative projects alongside the stories and shared experiences of individual members. In this sense, the end “product” is as collaborative, dynamic and diverse as its subject.
Over the past three years, I have been working off and on with danah boyd and The Berkman Center for Internet & Society on an extensive literature review pertaining to the legal and ethical issues surrounding pro-self-harm websites and online communities. In 2009, I worked with Howard Rheingold on his research into 21st century literacy skills (principally: attention, participation, collaboration, “crap detection” and network savvy).
In my free time, I enjoy writing poetry, dancing, coffee-fueled conversation, creating ambience and cozy spaces, wandering aimlessly, and finding inspiration in the minutia of everyday life.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust