Past Events

April 2017

Lisa Björkman, Urban and Public Affairs

Discussion on anthropologist Webb Keane’s new book “Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories”

We will be focusing on chapters 2 and 5. Chapter two discusses the ethical dimensions of establishing a shared sense of reality through interaction. Chapter five provides a case study of how such processes resulted in lasting moral systems through examining the history of feminist consciousness-raising. 

March 2017

Lisa Wagner, Spanish

Mapping Louisville’s Linguistic Landscape: A Pedagogical Tool for L2 Teaching and Learning”

This workshop focuses on second-language (L2) pedagogical applications of linguistic landscape theory using bilingual English Spanish commercial signage. Specifically, we will apply Sebba’s (2012) multi-modal analysis of code-mixing, along with key concepts from visual linguists Gorter (2006), Backhaus (2007) and Shohamy, Ben-Raphael, and Barni (2010) to the analysis of commercial signage from Albuquerque, NM. The purpose of this hands-on session is to pedagogically gauge the amount and type of theoretical background and guided practice students enrolled in the Spanish 490 Capstone course will need to successfully engage in the collection and analysis of an original English Spanish linguistic landscape data set from their local community of Louisville, KY.

February 2017

Karl Swinehart, Comparative Humanities (Linguistics)

“Andino Futurism, Tupak Katari in Space, and Decolonial Time in Bolivia’s Pacha Kuti”

Debates about cultural practices in Bolivia have increasingly unfolded around questions of which practices are deemed essentially indigenous or essentially Western, with many corners of Indigenous Bolivia calling for decolonization and the reestablishment of indigenous cultural hegemony. This paper examines cases in which the construal of time (through calendars, clocks, and notions of the past and future) is depicted as essentially Indigenous to the Andes or a colonial import from the West and, thus, a target for reform. Advancing competing construals of time has become one feature of contemporary state led political interventions, from reorienting clock faces on public buildings to run from right to left, to reconciling the Gregorian calendar with the solar, agricultural, Aymara one, to replacing Spanish-loan words for the days of the week with neologisms, to framing the launching of a telecommunications satellite as the reconstitution of prehispanic astronomical science. Across these cases we encounter a semiotic ideology of andinofuturism that identifies the prehispanic Andean past as a source for technological and social advance. This ideology draws on salient differences between the timespace semantics Indo-European and Andean languages: 1) the linking of front space with past time and anterior space with the futurity and 2) a unified concept of ‘spacetime’ or ‘pacha,’ a term that has become popularized through the widespread use of ‘Pacha Kuti,’ or ‘the turning over of spacetime,’ to refer to what in other contexts might be called “revolution.”

January 2017

Dr. Kathryn Whitmore and Dr. James Chisholm, Education & Human Development 

Research Methods to Understand Middle Grades Readers’ Semiotic Awareness

In this interactive workshop, we will invite participants to engage with research methods we created to understand how middle grades readers learned about the Holocaust and Anne Frank’s diary through the arts. In our multi-year study, we employed digital photographic and videographic techniques to freeze multimodal co-constructions of texts. We will invite participants to build on our arts-based research methods that seek to disrupt standardized and verbal evaluation instruments that dominate and limit what teachers can know about what and how students can learn. 

The following paper provides additional background on the arts-based methods that they will explore during the workshop: Chisholm, J. S., & Whitmore, K. F. (2016). Bodies in space/bodies in motion/bodies in character: Adolescents bear witness to Anne Frank. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 17(5). Available at http://www.ijea.org/v17n5/v17n5.pdf

December 2016

Margath Walker, Geography
Towards a Marcusean Conceptualization of Fortification

This paper proposes that bordering mechanisms do their work through geographic displacement, the production of one-dimensionality and techno-rationalism.  These latter two terms are drawn from Herbert Marcuse’s writings which sought to understand the dissolution of critical rationality and the stifling of revolutionary subjectivity in advanced industrial capitalism. To illustrate, I focus on contemporary efforts of fortification along Mexico’s borders in various stages of implementation. Bolstered by quantification,  and the use of statistics and categorization,  policies and practices of securitization articulated through US security agendas (both domestic and exported) represent a mode of organizing and perpetuating spatial relationships promulgating boundaries of thought and action devoid of few real challenges.

November 2016

Briel Kobak, Anthropology (University of Chicago)
Straight Whisky, and the Producer/Consumer it Protects

Straight, rectified, or blended: such were the options for labeling whiskey sold in the U.S. after the passage of three legislative acts between 1897 and 1911. These statutes served to regulate the production, distribution, and sale of various comestibles, drugs, and medicine on a federal level. By considering the role of one particular distiller, this analysis attempts to consider the intricacies and overlaps of business and regulatory bodies in the realm of comestibles as a both a foil and mirror to distilling practices today.

October 2016

Rachel Gramer, English, Rhetoric and Composition
The Stories We Learn to Tell: New Teachers’ Narratives of Identity

How do new writing teachers write and tell stories that reveal and shape their identities?This workshop presents a dissertation chapter work-in-progress in two parts: (1) a brief talk on narrative as a methodology for studying newcomer identities, and (2) an interactive discussion of artifacts and stories collected during a year-long interview study with new writing teachers at UofL.

March 2016

Discourse & Semiotics Meet & Greet
Friday, March 25, 1-2 pm, Humanities 300
Come join the Discourse and Semiotics workshop for a meet-and-greet and discussion of directions for 2016-2017. Find out what others are working on in discourse and semiotics, discuss goals for the group in 2016-2017, and identity possible presenters (including people you’d like to bring in from other universities).

February 2016

“Eternal Praise to the Brave Warriors: Indeterminacies of Nationhood in Jesús De Machaca, Bolivia”

Presented by Dr. Karl Swinehart, Assistant Professor in Department of Comparative Humanities on February 26, 2016.

With the passage of its 2009 constitution, Bolivia declared itself a Plurinational State, recognizing 36 Indigenous nations within Bolivian territory and established Aymara, Quechua, and 34 other indigenous languages as co-official with Spanish. This paper considers Bolivian plurinationality through an examination of a civic ritual conducted only a year after the passage of the 2009 constitution – a public commemoration of the 1921 uprising and massacre of Aymara peasants in Jesús de Machaca, La Paz – focusing on the singing of the Bolivian national anthem in the Aymara language. Translated into indigenous languages now co-official with Spanish, the song’s lyrics challenge the principle of commensurability that translation presupposes. The anthem’s performance introduces new resonances to lyrics like “the clamor of war” and “brave warriors” and raises questions about how an Aymara nation is situated within the now plurinational republic: Is this a performance of “nested sovereignty,” an Aymara civic act within a now Plurinational Bolivian Republic? Or is it a case of “assimilation by analogy,” where previously oppositional emblems of Aymara alterity are incorporated within a performance of civic minded Bolivian nationalism?

January 2016

“She’s the artist one”: How learner identities mediate multimodal literacy activities

Presented by Dr. James Chisholm (Assistant Professor, Middle & Secondary Education) and Dr. Andrea Olinger (Assistant Professor, English) on January 29, 2016.

For the first meeting of UofL’s new discourse and semiotics workshop, James Chisholm and Andrea Olinger present their work-in-progress, a discourse analytic study that examines the construction of three high school students’ identities as particular types of learners (e.g., “visual artist”) and the ways these identities shape the multimodal texts they are producing together.

Recommended reading that informs their theoretical and methodological approach: Stanton Wortham’s “Socialization Beyond the Speech Event” (2005), Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 15(1), 95-112. Available for download at http://repository.upenn.edu/gse_pubs/48/