Jen Shannon is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and a Curator in the Museum of Natural History at University of Colorado. She conducts ethnographic fieldwork as well as museum collections research, works on exhibits and cultural heritage projects in the museum, and teaches courses in the Museum and Field Studies program and in the Department of Anthropology. In addition to authoring Our Lives: Collaboration, Native Voice, and the Making of the National Museum of the American Indian (2014), she is committed to public scholarship. She is co-host of SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human, writes blog posts, and co-produces NAGPRA Comics, a community-based and collaboratively produced comic series that tells true stories about repatriation from tribal perspectives. Jen advocates that anthropological research, in the museum and in the field, be co-directed by and relevant to the communities with whom we work. Central to collaborative anthropology is a commitment to building trust, respecting other ways of knowing, and practicing reciprocity. Research should not only be disseminated to our discipline, but also made accessible to these communities and the wider public. At the core of her work is a commitment to facilitating and disseminating more diverse and inclusive understandings of history and contemporary lives, particularly through collaborative research with Indigenous peoples.
Photo by Jason Ordaz 2011