Erin Debenport

Christopher Smeall Summer Scholar


Literacy, Perfectibility, and Temporality: Reconciling Pueblo Imagined Pasts and Futures

Erin DebenportErin Debenport
Erin Debenport
Erin Debenport (3-D)Erin Debenport (3-D)Courtesy of Jason S. Ordaz

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Erin Debenport (3-D)

Erin Debenport devoted her residency to completing a draft of an article based on her study of a language revitalization program at a Rio Grande Pueblo. She analyzed two versions of a text recorded for use in that program to show how the editing process controls the circulation of knowledge. The article examines three key questions. First, is the choice to use writing to create and circulate a political text an affront to Pueblo language ideologies that privilege oral language? Second, how does the author’s insistence on perfecting the text connect to other Pueblo social processes? Third, how can the “discourses of nostalgia” indexed by the author be reconciled with an accompanying vision for the community’s future. “The central component that contributed to my being able to complete this article,” stated Debenport, “was the help and support of my fellow summer scholars.” She plans to submit the article to the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. She also wrote an article on “Comparative Accounts of Linguistic Fieldwork as Ethical Exercises,” which will appear in the upcoming issue of The International Journal of the Sociology of Language. “Being at SAR,” she explained, “allowed me to have the necessary distance to reflect on eight years of ethnolinguistic fieldwork and connect my experiences with those of other field linguists, with the goal of promoting ethical community academic partnerships.”

Affiliation at time of award:
Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture, University of California–Los Angeles

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