AO. data practices - Foster

  • AO: In her introduction, Foster includes notes on Methods and Terminology where she acknowledges the historic construction of Native peoples within academic scholarship as “knowable subjects.” To mitigate this, she notes that her book is based on an ethnographic study of both San peoples and Hoodia so as not to understand San struggles in isolation but in relation to scientists and growers. She notes: “I engaged in feminist methodologies of self-reflexivity about my methods and practices, methodologies that are intended to disrupt hierarchies between researcher and researched but that, as Andrea Smith cautions, can nonetheless reinforce structures of domination by positioning the researcher as self-reflexive white settler against those being researched as complaining ethnic subjects.” (17)

  • AO: Laura Foster (2017) is one of the few scholars within the annotated set that explicitly grappled for several pages with the double bind with which she found herself as a white female researcher from the US. She outlines conversations she had with Collin Louw who started out by asking: "Who are you? What do you want? You researchers, always coming around here, asking qeustions, talking to people and nothing happens." (19). She notes how she signed a Media and Research Contract that formalized expectations for researchers and required her to continually "commmunicate her research, stay in touch and share benefits with San peoples in the form of research materials, and a percentage of any royalties she might receive in the future." (20)

  • AO: Foster notes in her endnotes the sources of her statements, citing specific patent numbers, works, as well as interviews. Interestingly, she notes: (on file with author) to describe the interview data, seeming to suggest that one could inquire for the data if so desired? E.g. endnote 35 on page 167 - “Tommy Busakhwe, in discusssion with author in South Africa, March 3, 2009 (on file with author). She also prints the full text of speeches that she includes, see for example endnote 30 on page 159.

  • AO: Foster includes both community protocols and research guidelines for working with indigenous preoples and another that offers key strategies for indigenous peoples who may want to challenge a US patent in court.


Analytic (Question)




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