Daniel Fisher

Assistant Professor
Special Interests: 
Social Cultural Anthropology; Anthropology of Media; Aboriginal Australia; Music and Sound; Art and Expressive Practice; Ethnographic Film and Video; Citizenship and the State; Bureaucracy

My research in Aboriginal Northern Australia proceeds in two, related domains that bring together my interests in media, mobility, and the close ethnography of an urbanising Northern Territory. The first looks to the tremendous successes of Aboriginal media production in order to understand its ramifications across Australia’s north. In privileging audio media in much of this work I seek to analyze the power of media as an everyday presence in Aboriginal lives and to relate this to both enduring and historically emergent understandings of relatedness and of mediation itself. My research thus explores Indigenous media production as a political practice while seeking to keep in sight the broader ontological entailments of media forms and technologies in the everyday lives of my interlocutors. These closely knit endeavors provide the focus for my first monograph and continue to animate my ongoing research and writing.

A second and related field project focuses on aspects of Indigenous urbanization and town camping in the Northern Territory and some of the novel forms of intra-Indigenous relationship this has entailed. This research began with an exploration of the sophisticated media activism of town campers and their advocates among Darwin’s Indigenous traditional owners, and has expanded to consider the range of complications that such work, and the social relations it involves, entails for both campers and owners in urban space.

I also maintain an interest in ethnographic video, photography, and sound production as topics of teaching and research, and also as research methods and representational practices in the context of my fieldwork.

In addition to work in Northern Australia I have conducted research in New York City and Peru, and in 2001 produced an ethnographic documentary under the auspices of the Program in Culture and Media titled "A Cat in a Sack." 

323 Kroeber
Representative Publications: 



2013. Intimacy and self-abstraction: Radio as new media in Aboriginal Australia, Culture, Theory and Critique 54(3): 372-393. [part of special issue edited by Ilana Gershon and Joshua Bell].


2013. Becoming the State in Northern Australia: Urbanisation, Intra-Indigenous Relatedness, and the State Effect. Oceania 83(3): 238-258.


2013. The Anthropology of Radio Fields. Annual Review of Anthropology 42:  (co-authored with Lucas Bessire).


2012. Running amok or just sleeping rough? Long-grass camping and the politics of care. American Ethnologist 39(1):171-186


2012. “Radio Fields.” Introduction to Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century. NYU Press. [co-author, with Lucas Bessire]


2012. “From the Studio to the Street: Producing the Voice in Indigenous Australia” in Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st century. NYU Press.


2010. On Gammon, Global Noise, and Indigenous Heterogeneity: Words as things in Aboriginal Public Culture. Critique of Anthropology30(3):265-286


2009.  Speech that Offers Song: Kinship, Country Music, and Incarceration in Northern Australia.” Cultural Anthropology 24(2): 280-312.


2004. “Local sounds, popular technologies: History and historicity in Andean radio.” In Jim Drobnick, ed. Aural Cultures. pp. 207-218.  Montreal and Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery/YYZ Books.



2013. Becoming Like the State, special issue of Oceania 83(3) [co-edited with Jaap Timmer]


2012 Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century. NYU Press. [co-edited with Lucas Bessire]


PhD, Department of Anthropology, NYU 2005; Certificate in Culture and Media; 2001.