This book is based on fourteen months of field research in Mexico;
many more years of experiences with indigenous media across Latin
America and in the United States inform my work. My field research
was funded by the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright-Hays,
and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and
the Film and Video Center of the National Museum of the American
sponsored several of my trips to media festivals and
workshops in Latin America. I want to thank the indigenous media-
makers and their supporters, many of whom do not directly appear in
this study, for having shared this dynamic arena of social practice with
me. Many of the individuals whose voices and projects are included in
this book have remained close friends, and I am forever grateful for
their trust, openness, and patience while being subject to my inquisi-
tive gaze.
I owe particular debts of gratitude to my academic advisers and
colleagues at the Department of Anthropology and the program in
Culture and Media at New York University and at
Fred Myers,
Thomas Abercrombie, Jeff Himpele, and in particular, Faye Ginsburg,
shepherded my studies and the development of this project in crucial
ways. Jeff’s invitation to write a short article for American Anthropolo-
gist (Wortham 2004) allowed me to begin to envision how my work
could reach a broader audience, and Faye’s enduring enthusiasm
helped me keep the dots of field research, dissertation, manuscript, and
social engagement connected and within my reach. Elizabeth Weather-
ford, head of the Film and Video Center at
afforded me many
unforgettable opportunities to expand my knowledge of indigenous
media practices in Mexico (and beyond) and to bring indigenous
works from that part of the world into the museum’s collection. Collec-
tively Elizabeth, Millie Seubert, Carol Kalafatic, and my coworkers of
over seven years at
imparted their deep passion for and knowl-
edge of Native American peoples and cultures to me in daily and
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