Department of Anthropology

Anthony Webster: The Validity of Navajo is in Its Sounds

Fri, February 8, 2013 | SAC 5.118

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

"The Validity of Navajo is in Its Sounds: On the Ethnopoetics of Punning in Navajo Poetry and Verbal Art"

a talk by Anthony Webster, Anthropology, Southern Illinous University at Carbondale

Anthony K. Webster is a linguistic anthropologist whose work focuses on ethnopoetics, iconicity, language ideologies, language shift and documentation, expressive culture (poetry, song, rap, comedy, etc.), the imagination, and the felt attachments to expressive forms. His research has primarily focused on the social fields in which Navajo poets, poetry and poetics are embedded and how literary forms then imagine linguistic forms and languages. Related to this, he is also interested in the ways of speaking and writing current on the Navajo Nation. His work, then, has focused on the uses of Navajo, Navajo English, Navlish, and interlingual puns as expressions of intimate and mischievous grammars, especially in how such linguistic practices challenge assumptions about the boundedness and discreteness of languages. He is also interested in the processes by which literacy practices figure in the ways that languages are imagined. Throughout all his work is a deep concern with the ways that the marginalization and stigmatization of expressive forms are naturalized by dominant discourses and the ways that Navajo poets challenge such received assumptions through expressive forms. A developing line of research is concerned with the social work that contemporary Navajo poets are engaged in with and through their poetry, especially as it relates to environmental issues on the Navajo Nation.

Please contact Adriana Dingman, , for more information.

Sponsored by: The Department of Anthropology

Bookmark and Share