- PhD History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2005
- MCP Urban Studies and Planning (Environmental Policy/Planning), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994
Indigenous Peoples, Science, Technology, and Policy
My research and teaching cross the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS), feminist science studies, anthropology of science, cultural studies, and Native American Studies (NAS). I critically integrate frameworks and methods from these disciplines as I examine the politics of scientific knowledge production and its impacts on Native Americans and other peoples who historically suffer uneven power relations in scientific research. I focus on the cultures and politics of genomic, forensic, and environmental science and technology as they intersect with U.S. American conceptions of race and nation. I am also interested in the strategies and narratives that peoples employ as they attempt to govern scientific knowledge production. By “governance” I refer not only to regulation of or resistance to research but also the integration of community development and capacity building into scientific research. My work can inform policies designed to increase the regulatory, economic, educational, and human resource capacity of Native American tribes and other groups.
I am affiliated with the The Science, Technology, and Society Center.
Origins, Race, and Governance: Native Americans and GeneticsI focus on contemporary practitioners and practices of anthropological genetics on Native American and other indigenous populations. “Anthropological genetics” refers to the application of genetic techniques to traditional anthropological questions, including the study of ancient human migrations and the biological and cultural relationships between human populations. I am interested in innovations to official bioethical standards (e.g. consent, confidentiality, and ownership). I am especially interested in changing notions of consent and ethics in the management of biological samples. And I am interested in questions of power and politics that are not captured by bioethical frameworks and official mechanisms for regulating research (e.g. Institutional Review Boards and tribal research codes). How are genetic research questions, technical definitions, and data interpretation informed by historical and contextual ideas of race, purity, and origins? How do such ideas help build a commercial market for genetic “tests” for ancestry and identity? How do they inform notions of Native American identity in both the living and the dead? What are the implications for tribal citizenship and claims to human remains? As part of this project, I am co-principal investigator with Jenny Reardon (Sociology, UC-Santa Cruz) and Rebecca Tsosie (College of Law, Arizona State University) on a National Science Foundation-funded workshop, Genomics, Governance, and Indigenous Peoples.
Indigenous Technoscientists: Crossing Cultures of Expertise and TraditionIn studying Native American governance of genetics research (i.e. how they resist, regulate, collaborate in, and initiate research) I have become interested in Native American and other indigenous technoscientists and their roles in knowledge production and governance. In this ethnographic and archival research project I investigate indigenous scientists and engineers and their collaborators as agents in the democratization of science and technology, or “technoscience.” Subjects are drawn from fields of keen interest to indigenous peoples: e.g. human genetic diversity research, environmental risk assessment, renewable energy development, and greenbuilding. I am also interested in the roles that indigenous technoscientists play in integrating science and technology capacities into indigenous governance. As such, I also focus on scientists-turned-regulators and other policymakers at various levels of government and in professional organizations. I begin in the United States, but hope to expand this research into New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. To be clear, I do not focus on “indigenous” or “local” knowledge, but rather indigenous scientists and engineers trained in so-called Western or modern scientific traditions. I am interested in how they negotiate potentially conflicting intellectual commitments between scientific and indigenous communities. I am also interested in potential cross-fertilizations of knowledges and values. I expect that studying indigenous technoscientists will reveal how democratizing technoscientific fields requires reconfiguring what makes sense in science. Diversifying the classroom, the field, and the laboratory is only the beginning. Beyond who inquires, who samples or designs, and who does data analysis, which questions make sense to ask? Which theories and methods are seen as relevant and ethical? This research can suggest opportunities for and barriers to making technoscientific norms more multicultural, and scientific practice more democratic. Finally, research will complicate what we mean by "democratic."
Howe, Craig and Kimberly TallBear, eds. This Stretch of the River: Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Responses to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Bicentennial. Sioux Falls, SD: Oak Lake Writers Society & Pine Hill Press, 2006.
TallBear, Kimberly. "Native-American-DNA.coms: In Search of Native American Race and Tribe." In Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. Barbara Koenig, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, and Sarah Richardson, eds. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008: 235-252.
TallBear, Kimberly. “Narratives of Race and Indigeneity in the Genographic Project” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol. 35(3) (Fall 2007): 412-424.
TallBear, Kimberly. “DNA, Blood and Racializing the Tribe,” In ‘Mixed Race’ Studies: A Reader, edited by Jayne O. Ifekwunige. London and New York: Routledge, 2004. First published in Wicazo Sá Review Vol. 18(1) (2003): 81-107.
COMMENTARY AND REVIEW ARTICLES
TallBear, Kimberly. “DNA and Native American Identity.” In indiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, edited by Gabrielle Tayac, 69-75. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, 2009.
TallBear, Kimberly. "Commentary" (on Decoding Implications of the Genographic Project for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage). International Journal of Cultural Property 16 (2009): 189-192.
Lee, S. S-J., D. Bolnick, T. Duster, P. Ossorio, and K. TallBear. "The Illusive Gold Standard in Genetic Ancestry Testing." Science 325 (5946) (July 3, 2009): 38-39.
Bolnick, Deborah A., Duana Fullwiley, Troy Duster, Richard S. Cooper, Joan H. Fujimura, Jonathan Kahn, Jay Kaufman, Jonathan Marks, Ann Morning, Alondra Nelson, Pilar Ossorio, Jenny Reardon, Susan M. Reverby, and Kimberly TallBear. “The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testing.” Science, 318(5849) (October 19, 2007): 399-400.
Honors and Awards
- President's Postdoctoral Fellow - University of California, Berkeley - 2007
- Faculty Fellow - Arizona State University Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict - 2006
- Graduate Research Fellowship - National Science Foundation - 2003
- 151 - Society and Environment
- H196 - HONORS RESEARCH
- 201S - ESPM COLLOQUIUM
- 263 - Indigenous, Feminist, and Postcolonial Approaches to Science, Tec
- 290 - SPECIAL TOPICS ESPM
- 298 - DIRECT GROUP STUDY
- 299 - INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH
Office: 122 Giannini Hall
Office Phone: 510 643-1966
Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720