Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationTexas, Austin, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9628
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleSiewert, Lia M., U. of Texas, Austin, TX - To aid research on 'Disjunctures and Narrative Discriminations: The Role of English and Ojibwe in an Indigenous Community Theater,' supervised by Dr. Anthony K. Webster
LIA M. SIEWERT, then a graduate student at University of Texas, Austin, Texas, was awarded funding in April 2018 to aid research on ‘Disjunctures and Narrative Discriminations: The Role of English and Ojibwe in an Indigenous Community Theater,’ supervised by Dr. Anthony K. Webster. This research asks what effects generationally stratified language change and linguistic disjunctures have on how both Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe language) and English are categorized and performed, and the implications of these effects on the future of heritage language maintenance. Social categories such as ‘elder,’ ‘speaker,’ youth,’ and ‘non-speaker’ influence how participants relate to the concept of language loss; this study looks at how these categories inform language performance in a situation of stark, generationally marked language shift. Participants of this study include elders and youth — speakers and non-speakers — of an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) community in Canada, with special focus on verbally creative performances by youth at a local community theater. Participants produce performance texts (scripts) using a synthesis of European and Indigenous North American clowning creation and performance traditions. Participants use clowning to complicate social boundaries that demarcate which texts they are authorized to voice. Through these texts, performers negotiate and reposition intellectual authority and linguistic prestige as construed within hegemonic theoretical frameworks. This research contributes a study of emergent notions of a what entails a language ‘expert’ and competent performance in a context where rethinking language teaching and learning are understood as vital to the maintenance of intergenerational heritage language exchange.