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Department of Archaeology

Wednesday, 21 February, 2024 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event speaker: 
Oliver Mayeux (JRF, Trinity College, Cambridge)

Attendance in-person at the McDonald Institute Seminar Room or online via Zoom (register here).

Talk: Join us to hear the latest research from invited guest Oliver Mayeux, who will discuss his paper 'Between Créolité and Indigeneity: Social movements for reviving French and Creole in Louisiana'

Abstract: Louisiana, today part of the United States, constitutes an unusual context at the geographical and historical periphery where Indigenous, Creole, and American identities remain contested. This talk reviews how these conflicts play out in revitalization movements for the endangered French and Creole languages of Louisiana. Adopting a critical sociolinguistic perspective, and drawing on 10 years of participant observation in language activist groups online and offline, I lay out the competing concerns and goals of Louisiana language movements at the grassroots and in interaction with state and commercial actors. Language revitalization often has less to do with language itself and more to do with the symbolic potential for language to represent broader social conflicts – here, contending ethnic and racial identities.

Term Series: Endangered technological and traditional knowledge: documenting, protecting and  reconnecting communities

Description/Themes: The second theme of our series tackles endangered traditional knowledge across the Americas. We reflect on how fewer indigenous languages and crafts are now being spoken and fabricated in the context of dominant manufacturing industries and languages, which are perceived to be socially and economically more valuable than minority languages and traditional ways of living. In this theme, we also discuss and offer recent cases of studies where digital media tools provide a new pathway for transmitting and conserving oral cultures and protecting everyday objects, traditional technological systems and other material cultures that are threatened by extinction.

Event location: 
In-person at the McDonald Institute Seminar Room or online via Zoom (register above).
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