McComsey, Melanie, U. of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA - To aid research on 'Bilingual Spaces: Socialization to Spatialized Practice in Spanish and Juchitán Zapotec,' supervised by Dr. John B. Haviland
MELANIE McCOMSEY, then a student at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, was awarded funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Bilingual Spaces: Socialization to Spatialized Practice in Spanish and Juchitán Zapotec,' supervised by Dr. John B. Haviland. This project offers a fresh perspective on the classic problem of linguistic relativity associated with Humboldt, Sapir, and Whorf. It draws on ethnographic and semi-experimental linguistic data collected over two years of fieldwork with bilingual speakers of Spanish and Juchitan Zapotec, an Otomanguean language spoken in Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico. Because the languages differ in their spatial grammar, and because the speakers differ in their bilingual proficiency in the two languages, the researcher was able to investigate whether different cognitive styles are related to specific linguistic codes. Research found that some changes in spatial cognitive style are happening independently of changes in the grammars of Spanish and Zapotec. This suggests that ways of thinking about space may not be coupled to individual linguistic codes, but can vary as part of a local system of practice and communication. It was also found that embodied interactions with the rapidly modernizing built environment in Juchitan affect how children learn particular styles of spatial problem solving. This project contributes to the fields of linguistic relativity and language contact, showing how multiple worldviews are created and lived through practice within a single speech community.
Rosa, Jonathan Daniel, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Learning to Hear a Nation’s Limits: Language Ideologies and Ethnoracial Subjectivity in U.S. High Schools,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal
JONATHAN DANIEL ROSA, then a student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Learning to Hear a Nation's Limits: Language Ideologies and Ethnoracial Subjectivity in U.S. High Schools,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. This grant supported twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork carried out between 2008-2009 within a newly created Chicago public high school whose student body was more than 90 percent Mexican and Puerto Rican. Observational, interview, and linguistic data include ongoing observations of more than 90 students, teachers, and administrators in the field site, as well as 40 in-depth interviews with students, teachers, and administrators. These data track: 1) the school's efforts toward transforming students; 2) students' shifting ideas about ethnoracial categories; and 3) the social sites in which distinctions between 'Mexicans' and 'Puerto Ricans' were undermined by emergent 'Latino' sensibilities. This research shows how processes of ethnoracial category making take shape as dialectic counterparts in relation to which language and literacy were understood and practiced in this field site. In particular, the linguistic findings reveal: 1) the profound redefinition of bilingualism as disability and 'languagelessness;' 2) students' strategies for escaping linguistic stigmatization; and 3) the semiotic operations that reduced students' expansive symbolic repertoires to criminality. This analysis of language and ethnoracial identity suggests the broader potential for people to look like a language and sound like a race across cultural contexts.
Boltokova, Daria, U. of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - To aid research on 'Betwixt and Between: Studying Processes of Language Hybridization among Sakha Youth,' supervised by Dr. Patrick Moore
Preliminary abstract: In my research, I am theorizing processes of language hybridization through an ethnographic study of generational differences in the linguistic practices of Sakha people residing in Russia's far northeast. Most accounts of linguistic hybridity in anthropology frame hybrid language use in terms of 'code-switching' and 'code-mixing' on the assumption that speakers remain fluent in the languages they combine. Less considered are the cumulative effects of prolonged switching and mixing on fluency itself, particularly across generations. I ask: When and how do processes of hybridization like mixing and switching lead to the emergence of novel hybrid language practices? To answer this question, first, I explore the social and political factors driving processes of language hybridization among Sakha youth and, second, document the growth of Sakha-Russian hybrid language forms in practice. For scholars studying the Sakha people, this research provides a more accurate picture of contemporary Sakha language practices. For anthropologists more generally, this research offers a more refined conceptual toolkit for theorizing processes of language hybridization in multilingual communities, both elsewhere in Russia and around the world.
Tarlow, Dr. Sarah, U. of Leicester, Leicester, UK - To aid conference of 'Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA),' 2013, Leicester, in collaboration with Dr. Zoe Crossland
'46th Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology'
January 9-12, 2013, U. Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
Organizers: Dr. Sarah Tarlow (U. Leicester) and Dr. Zoe Crossland (Columbia U.)
The conference theme-'Globalization, Immigration, Transformation'-emphasized global connections past and present, aiming to include scholars who would not ordinarily attend the meetings in order to explore these issues. Funding enabled six archaeologists from different parts of Africa to take advantage of the conference's location in the UK and to participate in the conference in different roles. A special session on 'History, Archaeology, and Memory Work in African Contexts' was also constituted to bring together scholars working in Africa to discuss current research on the topic and to advertise perspectives from African historical archaeology to other participants in the conference.
Feliciano-Santos, Sherina, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'Taíno Language and Cultural Revival: An Ethnographic Study of Language Ideologies in Emerging Language Varieties,' supervised by Dr. Barbra Allyn Meek
SHERINA FELICIANO-SANTOS, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received a grant in May 2007 to aid research on 'Taino Language and Cultural Revival: An Ethnographic Study of Ideologies, Emerging Language Practices, and Relatedness,' supervised by Dr. Barbara A. Meek. This research considers what is at stake in claiming and establishing a contemporary Taíno identity in Puerto Rico. Considering that Taíno peoples conventionally have been presumed to be extinct -- according to widely circulating historical narratives of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean -- this study provides a grounded analysis of the face-to-face interactions involved in actively affirming and organizing around an extant Taíno heritage. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among four Taíno organizations, this research found that group recruitment and maintenance strategies were reflected in the emergence of distinctive Taíno linguistic practices. This study is concerned with how these emerging linguistic practices relate to the building of distinctive authorizing and legitimizing routines, the differentiation of Taíno groups and the production of relatedness among Taíno peoples. This analysis of the everyday social interactions involved in the recruitment and maintenance of Taíno groups in Puerto Rico shows how emergent practices of constructing relatedness may complicate social as well as sociolinguistic landscapes. This project, though focused on Taíno resurgence, applies to any context wherein people are redefining themselves by reconfiguring their relatedness to each other by institutionalizing or de-regimenting different modes of belonging.
Harris, Dr. John William Kendal, Rutgers U., New Brunswick, NJ; and Mbua, Dr. Emma N., National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya - To aid collaborative research on 'International Collaborative Paleoanthropological Research Project (lcpr), Ileret, Kenya'
Keeling, Simon R., U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'The Poetry and Music of Conflict: Exploring Bamileke Funeral Performance,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine
SIMON R. KEELING, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received funding in May 2005 to aid research on 'The Poetry and Music of Conflict: Exploring Bamileke Funeral Perform-ance,' supervised by Dr. Judith T. Irvine. This research explored the meanings of music, poetry, and place among Bamiléké members of music and finance associations in Bangangté, Cameroon. The grantee attended the weekly meetings and rehearsals of some such groups, and arranged private music and language lessons. Attending and performing at mourning rites are among the most important func-tions of the groups. Music was recorded at rehearsals, lessons, and performances. Most song texts con-cerned: 1) responsibility to kin; 2) death, ritual, and the afterlife; or 3) the connections between ritual, kin-groups, and villages. The third theme includes traditions of naming which include both 'given' names and predictable names based on these connections. Decisions about which name to use when seem to be a significant poetic resource. Consultants' talk about villages and values demonstrated that the near-sacred spaces of village farms are crucial to how they understand power, beauty, and ethics. Working with micro-financial institutions showed that Bangangté is a place where the emotional intensity of poverty and gen-erosity is entangled with that of ritual and place. Making music together is neither tangential nor superfi-cial to such complexities; it develops, contains, deepens, permits and celebrates intimacy and affective in-tensity. All of this was going on in a context also shaped by a discourse of 'modernity' which cast 'village' practices in a negative light. Therefore, the Bamiléké of Bangangte are engaged in struggles for prestige which run through music and daily life.
McGill, Dr. Dru Evan, Bloomington, IN - To aid preparation of the personal research materials of Dr. Christopher S. Peebles for archival deposit with the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Indiana University