Infograph Debrief

Link to infograph:

Overall, I think my presentation of the infograph was received well. However, I did receive a lot of constructive criticism, the most relevant of which I will discuss here. I was told by a few of my audience members that my infographic, linked above, was at times difficult to follow visually. This doesn’t directly apply to the RBA (as I don’t believe they found the oral delivery difficult to follow) but I think it does emphasize the convoluted nature of my topic, and therefore a need to be very clear and specific in my framing of the topic in the RBA. I was also told by some of my peers that, upon presenting the infographic, they felt like there were many directions I could ultimately take my RBA, and suggested I consider ways in which I could narrow the topic.

I think this marks a good transition into talking about how my research question has evolved as a result of presenting the infographic. In my initial written and oral research proposals, I discussed how my research had indicated potential reasons why Native American culture might especially be worth saving. I also discussed how these reasons could be linked concretely to metrics; for example I proposed ‘irreplaceability’ as a metric, and argued that Native American culture is especially irreplaceable. After that discussion, it seemed logical to focus my RBA to further probe the appropriateness of these metrics and then apply them to the Pebble mine case. In other words, the research question would be along the lines of: “Which metrics are applicable for evaluating the Pebble situation, and what do they indicate?”

However, research I did to create my infographic presents another possible direction. I’ve found that some of the metrics I’ve compiled can directly conflict with themselves or with other metrics. For example, many of my sources highlight the extent to which Bristol Bay Native American culture is tied to the environment. Many other sources emphasize the importance of Native American ‘governance’ in order to achieve sovereignty. This poses a conflict because in the case of Pebble, about 50% of Bristol Bay Native Americans support the construction of Pebble mine. As a result, I’m pondering focusing the RBA on a larger philosophical question, such as “How should policymakers proceed when a change will disrupt a (Native American) culture, but the (Native American) culture supports that change?”

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