Past Events

November 2020

Friday, November 13, 2020, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Virtual Meeting
Work-In-Progress Workshop: “Teacher as Facilitator of Classroom Discourse”
Lindsey Smith, Undergraduate Senior in Elementary Education, University of Louisville

The title of this presentation is adapted from a 2000 article “What Teachers Need to Know About Language” by Lily Wong Fillmore–University of California at Berkeley and Catherine E. Snow–Harvard Graduate School of Education prepared with funding from the U. S. Department of Education’s now-defunct Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) by the Center for Applied Linguistics. Lindsey Smith, a Grawemeyer Scholar and 4th-year Teacher Education Student with an elementary/special education emphasis, will discuss the mathematics lessons she taught to three groups of kindergarten students at a JCPS elementary school under Professor Tucker’s direction. In this presentation, she will analyze the Initiation Reply Evaluation (IRE) sequence and other various conversation sequences used throughout her instruction, drawing conclusions regarding the advantages and disadvantages that various discourse sequences present to students’ learning. In addition, she will analyze the form and function of the classroom conversation between herself and the students. She will conclude with lessons she learned from this close analysis of the classroom discourse and how she believes engaging in analyses of classroom discourse might improve teacher education students’ practice and allow them to gain a better understanding of the impact of classroom discourse.

Presenter Bio: Lindsey Smith is a Grawemeyer Scholar at the University of Louisville. She is currently a senior studying Elementary Education with a specialization in Learning and Behavior Disorders. While at UofL, Lindsey co-presented at the 2018 Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics (KCTM) conference and the Spring 2019 Discourse and Semiotics Workshop with Dr. Stephen Tucker on their joint research regarding early number sense and subitizing. Their work has recently been accepted to be presented at the 2021 American Education Research Association (AERA) annual conference. Currently, Lindsey is working on a self-study project with Dr. Michèle Foster focused on analyzing linguistics’ impact on teaching and learning. Lindsey is student teaching in Jefferson County Public Schools and looks forward to implementing what she has learned through research in her own classroom.

October 2020

Friday, October 9, 2020, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Virtual Meeting on Zoom
Virtual Book Launch of Authorized Agents: Publication and Diplomacy in the Era of Indian Removal
Dr. Frank Kelderman, English, University of Louisville
* Hosted by the Americas Research Group and the Discourse & Semiotics Workshop

Join us for a virtual book launch for the paperback edition of Frank Kelderman’s Authorized Agents, which explores the relation between Indigenous diplomacy and the history of Native American writing in the nineteenth century. Showcasing archival manuscripts and images, the author will offer a “visual tour” of the book, highlighting its stakes, methods, and contributions—and provide a close-up view of several key writers and orators.

Frank Kelderman is assistant professor of English at the University of Louisville.

Authorized Agents: Publication and Diplomacy in the Era of Indian Removal is available in paperback from State University of New York Press.

February 2020

Friday, Feb 28, 2020 – 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. – Stevenson 417
“In between the ‘global’ and the ‘local’: Argentine fan transformations of Anglophone media texts”
Dr. Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson, Anthropology Department, Appalachian State University

This workshop will investigate how a series of globally-circulating media texts are re-interpreted in a highly stylized Argentine voice; and how these reinterpretations are taken up by fans on social media from across Latin America. Broadly, these ideas speak to critiques of the binary view of “centers” vs. “peripheries” in global media flows.

Te lo resumo así nomás (“I’ll just sum it up for you like this”) is a YouTube channel created by Argentinean Jorge Pinarello. Te lo resumo videos are parodic summaries of major media franchises (i.e. films like Shrek and Star Wars), narrated by Pinarello in a stylized Argentine accent and intercut with clips from other globally-circulating media texts and from local Argentine media. In the official Facebook group for the channel, fans from across the world—primarily Latin America—share and comment on these texts in ways that highlight the gaps and tensions between the “hyperlocalized” versions of these texts that Pinarello produces, the more international scope of the fan community, and more broadly global mainstream Anglophone mediascapes and fandoms. These closely interconnected discourse contexts illustrate one way in which consumers of globally circulating Anglophone media texts can position their own consumption practices as local-but-not-too-local, and global-but-not-too-global.

Friday, Feb 7, 2020 – 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. – Stevenson 417
“Critical Compliance and the Boundaries of Medical Expertise in Rare Disease Advocacy”
Caitin Ray, English Department, University of Louisville

My research utilizes rhetorical commonplaces—or ideologically constructed assumptions within argument—as a framework through which to examine narratives about rare diseases (Crowley, 2006). Drawing from disability studies and the rhetoric of health and medicine, I analyze both media representations of rare diseases and qualitative interview data from one rare disease community for healthcare-specific commonplaces. My goal is to understand how the rare disease community (a community that represents approximately 1 in 10 people in the U.S.) tells their stories, and how their stories challenge our understanding of healthcare more broadly.

My workshop draft, from my in-progress dissertation, examines patient advocate testimonials from Rare Disease Congressional Caucus meetings. I argue that these advocates not only use commonplaces to challenge accepted medical expertise, but also utilize story to highlight the medical uncertainty they embody. By doing so, they engage in a rhetorical strategy I call “critical compliance”—or a way of using the confines of current healthcare practice to connect to resources like research partners, legislative allies, and other stakeholders.

For this workshop, I will bring examples of Rare Disease Congressional Caucus testimony, offer a brief discussion (and handout) of my argument, and allow for discussion on my methodology and analysis.

October 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019, 12:30-2:00 p.m., Stevenson Hall 417
“The Colorblind Violent Brain: Race and the Neuroscience of Violence”
Dr. Oliver Rollins, Sociology Department, University of Louisville

In this talk, I will present work from my pending book, Conviction: The Neuroscientific Quest to Unlock the Violent Brain (Stanford University Press). Beyond the threat of a return of biological determinism, I argue that neuroscientists have built a new type of technology, the “violent brain.” This new sociotechnical imaginary is supposedly more plastic, race-neutral, and technologically advanced, yet in practice its inability to truly engage sociocultural power, difference, and inequality leave it fully inept to deal with violence in society.
Drawing on first-hand interviews and an extensive textual analysis of published research over the past thirty years, I interrogate the use and consequences of race in the resurgent neurobiology of violence. While these neuroscientists have adopted a “race-neutral” approach to their work, this move has left the research devoid of any analysis of the larger social effects of race, which ultimately nullifies their ability to address contemporary concerns about race or guard against scientific racism in the future making or use of the science. In essence, this colorblind approach further harms the population that neuroscientists set out to help in the first place, as it invites new regimes of corporeal surveillance that bolster problematic law enforcement tactics through the guise of public health and safety. Thus, this talk is not simply a critique of the glaring ways neuroscience of violence can inform racial identity, but an interrogation of its normative potentials which may, in even more insidious ways, further subjugate those populations that are most at need. Certainly, there is an urgent need to address violence in our society, but whose brain will we select and target for intervention?

April 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019, 12:30-2:00 p.m., Stevenson Hall 417
“Coded in Black and White:  An Analysis of Racialized Language in the United States”
Tiffany Dillard-Knox, Pan-African Studies, University of Louisville

Much of the sociolinguistic literature on language as it relates to African Americans in the United States focuses on the use and legitimacy of African American Vernacular English. However, very little research has examined the role that “white speak” has in relation to this population, specifically the significance of its use over time to maintain racialized social control within the U.S. As such, this research will focus on the process(es) used within dominant discourses that have had and continues to have a profound impact on the lived experiences of Blacks in the United States through what I will call, racial indexicality. The notion of racial indexicality is not singular in its deployment. It relies on a multitude of communicative processes. However, at least in the United States, we can trace and connect these processes back to a singular event, chattel slavery. Racial indexicality can only be understood through an analysis of the relationship between language and that colonial history. This project will attempt to build on Michael Silverstein’s notion of cultural indexicality by making a distinction between cultural and racialized linguistic processes.

March 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019, 12:30-2:00 p.m., Stevenson Hall 417
“Student Understanding of Genetics and Genome Editing Technology”
Katie Humrick, Biology, University of Louisville

My study investigates what students are learning about genetics in undergraduate biology courses at UofL and how biology students at varying academic levels understand genetics and genome editing technology. To investigate what students are learning about genetics I am measuring student belief in genetic determinism (BGD) and level of genetics understanding using two validated surveys. To investigate how students are understanding genetics and genome editing technology I have developed a genome editing writing assignment that asks students to read an article and respond to the question “Do you believe CRISPR/Cas9 technology should be used for non-medical enhancement in humans?”. I am using Discourse analysis to analyze the responses and am specifically looking for uses of moral reasoning by the students. Furthermore, I am coding student responses to characterize how students are framing their arguments and investigating if it relates to the level of biology they are in. Pilot data revealed students at an introductory level used two main frames: principle-based and consequential-based moral reasoning. Pilot and expected data collected during fall 2018 will be presented in the session. Discussion of the writing prompt, students responses, coding methods, and interpretation of results will be facilitated during the session.

February 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019, 12:30-2:00 p.m., Stevenson Hall 417
“Writing Omaha Childhood: Orality, Literacy, and Indigenous Childhood in Susette LaFlesche’s Magazine Writings ”
Dr. Frank Kelderman, English, University of Louisville

This paper examines the representation of childhood in the magazine writings of the Omaha writer and activist Susette LaFlesche (Inshata Theumba or “Bright Eyes,” 1854-1903). In the late 1870s and early 1880s, just as she became involved in prominent civil rights cases concerning Indian nations, LaFlesche authored several short pieces for national magazines of children’s literature, Wide Awake and St. Nicholas. I argue that in these writings—the short story “Nedawi,” “Omaha Legends and Tent Stories,” and a letter to St. Nicholas—LaFlesche mobilizes narratives of childhood to interrogate questions of citizenship, race, and indigenous sovereignty, at a moment of increased attention to Indian reform. In Racial Innocence, Robin Bernstein argues that in the nineteenth century, the representation of childhood played a pivotal role in diverging (and opposing) racial projects, from slavery and emancipation to anti-black violence and the discourse of African American “uplift.” Extending this framework, I explore what role the representation of childhood played in the work of Native writers who were active in the Indian reform movement. In particular, I examine how LaFlesche’s depiction of childhood literacy allows her to reclaim the figure of the Native American child as an agentic subject. As Patricia Crain argues in Reading Children, in the nineteenth century, children’s entry into reading and writing practices underwrote their entry into property relations and commodity culture, and literacy emerged as a potent symbol of children’s autonomy and agency. In this respect, LaFlesche’s representation of children’s reading and writing practices offers a literacy narrative that moves beyond the trope of children’s “assimilation” into settler regimes of knowledge and power. Rather, LaFlesche’s magazine writings used the figure of the American Indian child to contest the racial projects of indigenous dispossession as well as the progressive Indian reform movement, within a national culture of magazine publishing.

January 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019, 12:30-2:00 p.m., Stevenson Hall 417
“A Mathematics Educator and a Cognitive Neuroscientist Walk into a Research Meeting…”
Dr. Stephen Tucker and Dr. Nicholas Hindy in collaboration between the Embodied Mathematics Education Research Group (EMERG) and the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory (CogMem) lab. Featuring work by Lindsey Smith, Manal Zafar, Kugen Naidoo, Maame Safowa-Geary, Suryra Rajan Selvam, and Manzura Ibragimova.

Faculty collaborators with drastically different research paradigms entertain/befuddle associated student researchers with discussions about what research and learning (math) means, as it emerges from studies involving preschoolers and kindergartners learning early number sense while interacting with a multi-touch iPad app. Hilarity ensues. (For one of us, at least.) Team members will share initial findings from analyses of qualitative video data and quantitative “performance” data of children’s learning (math), as well as reflections on our experiences as a team. We intend to spark discussion about what the data types, analysis techniques, theories, etc. may contribute, especially through attendees’ applications of their own preferred theories and analyses to excerpts of video data. Together, we aim to explore ways various perspectives can be applied to the same data while helping us all consider ways we can fruitfully engage in intellectually challenging collaboration.

November 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018 12:30-2 pm, Stevenson 417
“Black Affirmations and Ironies of Progress in Joel Christian Gill’s Strange Fruit
Dr. Karen Chandler, Department of English

In Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, graphic artist Joel Christian Gill seems to avoid the tendency of much historical writing for young readers to align protagonists with what Sara Schwebel calls “the narrative of progress we tell that disguises continued inequalities and ongoing resentment and distrust.” On the one hand, the graphic biographical sketches in Strange Fruitoften provide unsettling visions of the past that discourage complacency and prompt questions about the possibilities of justice for black persons within U.S. society. On the other hand, Gill relies on dominant cultural myths of masculine individualism and exceptionalism that are hallmarks of stories about making progress and fulfilling the American dream. In this paper, I concentrate on these contradictions as they appear in Gill’s chapter on the Henry Box Brown, paying special attention to its use of irony, stereotype, and repetition.

October 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 11:30-1 pm, Stevenson 417
“Design of Research Tools based on Semiotics and Visual Resources”
Professor Dora Ivonne Alvarez Tamayo, University of Puebla

A general design process model could include key stages as analytical, strategic, productive and evaluative. The design of research instruments from a semiotic perspective allows analyzing the configuration of the semantic fields considering the opportunity to integrate visual resources and research techniques to access the mind of consumers/users/interpreters in a non-invasive way.  The theme will be discussed from the marketing semiotic approach in the search to favor decision-making processes. There is a natural link between marketing and semiotics: the interest in consumer/interpreter knowledge.

Marketing semiotics is based on theories, principles, and techniques, which allow understanding the meaning processes, and getting information on consumers behavior, their contexts, and the influence factors through the analysis of their symbolic and belief system.  The design of research instruments based on semiotics and visual resources starts from on the premise: if the strategist knows the code structure around a concept it is possible to define a discursive strategy highly effective. From this perspective, semiotics has been taken as the primary focus for the development of diagnosis, research and evaluation tools. Despite semiotic-based research tools show information that other instruments cannot offer, it is recommended to combine them with other data collection tools (qualitative or quantitative) to strengthen analysis results.

Friday, October 19, 2018, 12:30-2 pm, Stevenson 417
“The Question of Race in Personalized Medicine: An Analysis of the (Mis)Use of Racial Categories in Pharmacogenomic Research”
Eve Polley, PhD student, Department of Comparative Humanities

Personalized medicine is a global, multibillion-dollar industry which operates on the claims that it is possible and beneficial to develop pharmaceuticals tailored to individuals’ genetic profiles. It is thought by many to be the future of medicine. I argue that the claims of—and high hopes for—personalized medicine are problematic in at least three ways. Firstly, pharmacogeneticists, those who work in the field of study and employ the research methodology which results in the development of personalized medicines, both historically and contemporarily, have utilized non-empirically-derived racial categories in order to organize and interpret their data. Secondly, with regards to distribution practices (who these medicines are developed for, and who pragmatically has access to them), the practice of personalized medicine, especially in places where healthcare is based in the private sector such as the United States, has as an inherent component the tendency to result in the development of medicines for those groups which are already among the best-served by the medical profession. Thirdly, the practice of personalized medicine appears to narrow the field of vision of its proponents to the microcosmic level of DNA alone, causing them to underestimate or not even value the profound effects of environmental and social factors on the health of marginalized individuals and groups.

To defend the first portion of this thesis, I look to those who have analyzed the practice of personalized medicine on a laboratory-level, particularly how its researchers handle questions of racial categorization, and how this potentially affects the conclusions of their research (e.g. Duana Fullwiley, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2015, and others). Specifically, I argue that many research methodologies and practices reify a biological or genetic conception and definition of race which is scientifically and philosophically invalid. To defend the second portion of this thesis, I look to those who have analyzed the practice of personalized medicine from an economic perspective, who have written on patterns in the types of drugs that tend to be produced, and to whom they are prescribed (e.g. Ernst R. Berndt and Mark R. Trusheim, 2017, and others).  To defend the third portion of this thesis, which is based on my own research, I analyze the public writings and interviews of a number of high-profile proponents of personalized medicine, and attempt to demonstrate the manner in which their approaches de-emphasize or do not take into account the innumerable macrocosmic (non-genetic) factors that affect health, especially among those who live and work in environments which are far from ideal for fostering human health. This research does not claim to be exhaustive, and it is ongoing. In conclusion I argue that the problems brought out by this analysis call into question the practice of personalized medicine as a whole, both in terms of its scientific validity and social value.

September 2018

Friday, September 14, 2018 12:30-1:30 pm, Stevenson 417
“Automatic Speech Recognition for Endangered Languages”
Dr. Hilaria Cruz, Department of Comparative Humanities

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) is a fascinating and burgeoning technology that has near limitless potential. What used to be considered science fiction, the ability to speak in natural language and have a computer recognize and act, is now commonplace. It has entered our homes in the form of Alexa, Siri and OK Google. But this technology has been limited to major, dominant languages such as English, German, and Spanish. Major companies developing tools for automatic speech recognition in major languages are not interested in developing these technologies for languages with a small number of speakers arguing lack of profitability.

The rapid development of ASR technologies, especially the deployment of neural networks, could help expedite transcription, translation, and linguistic annotation in endangered languages. More data in a language can increase its linguistic research, revival, and promotion. Before this can be achieved there are many technological and methodological hurdles that must be overcome in order to fully harness these technologies for lesser-studied languages.

April 2018

Talking Black in America, screening and Q&A with executive producer Dr. Walt Wolfram, NC State. This screening is sponsored by the Henry Heuser Endowed Chair in Urban Partnerships. View clips from the film here.

March 2018

I Dream in Another Language (Sueno en Otro Idoma), screening and post-screening discussion with Dr. Hilaria Cruz

Mark your calendars for an exciting (FREE) film opportunity showing at the Speed Cinema, March 28th, 6-8 pm. directed by Ernesto Contreras:
This film “raises philosophical questions about what is lost when a language – and by extension, our elder’s memory – is allowed to fade away unpreserved.” – Peter Debruge, Variety
There will be an introduction and post-screening discussion led by Dr. Hilaria Cruz, Neukom Postdoctoral Fellow, Dartmouth College and Assistant Professor of Comparative Humanities, University of Louisville. Part of a two-day symposium on Borders, Territoriality, and Citizenship in the Americas. For more information contact Christine Ehrick (History Department) at

March 2018

Dr. Michèle Foster, Henry Heuser Endowed Chair in Urban Education Partnerships

Getting To Know You: Identities, Relationships and Perspectives in Undergraduate Student Journals

In a general education course taught, in which undergraduate students spent part of the course working with pupils in an urban public school, Dr. Foster asked the undergrads to keep a weekly journal in which they answered 3 questions: What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your students?  What did you learn about teaching? Dr. Foster wants to understand how urban public-school students are being characterized by the undergraduates. What messages do the students intend to convey about the public-school pupils? Specifically, what identity or identities are the undergraduates enacting and what identities are they attributing to the pupils? What sort of relationships are the undergraduate seeking to enact with the pupils and others they encounter in the public-school setting? And what perspectives are their texts communicating about what is “normal,” “right,” “good,” “correct,” “proper,” “appropriate,” “valuable,” “the ways things are,” “the way things ought to be,” “high status or low status,” “like me or not like me,”? (Gee, 1999).

February 2018

Dr. Mark Sulzer (University of Cincinnati), Secondary Education and Literacy and Language Studies

Introducing Critical Comparative Content Analysis: A Method for Looking Across Texts and Audiences

How are social constructs textually represented differently to different audiences? This (discussion-based) presentation will offer a rationale for why this question is important, introduce some possible methods for addressing it, and offer detailed examples from various projects involving young adult literature, specifically critical comparative content analyses (CCCA) of “youth adaptions.” The presentation is meant to give all participants space to engage in dialogue and try out CCCA methods for themselves.

January 2018

Dr. Deborah Lutz, English Dept
George Eliot’s Paratexts

Lutz will discuss George Eliot’s notebooks that she analyzed last summer. George Eliot kept journals, notebooks, and diaries almost obsessively. Here she copied excerpts from her reading (called “commonplacing”), which she then used in writing her novels. Impressions of her foreign travel, records of what she was reading and eating, and accounts of the important events of her life filled these books. As nineteenth-century material objects with pockets, attached pencils, clasps, pasted-in additions, pages sewn together, inserted flowers, and more, these volumes are interesting in and of themselves.

In this talk, we will look at pictures of these volumes and discuss what sorts of ideas or conclusions can be drawn from them. For instance: what role did research play in the writing of Middlemarch and her other novels? In what way did these notebooks contribute to her writing projects? What arguments can be made about them as objects?

November 2017

Jenny Snyder, Comparative Humanities (Linguistics)
(Re)Constructing Asian American Identity Through Stand-Up Comedy 

The data Snyder analyzed includes a short video excerpt of a 2012 performance by stand-up comedian Ali Wong, as well as comments that viewers left in response to this video on YouTube (video link here: Snyder transcribed over five minutes of the six minute clip, which showed Wong using a variety of linguistic choices. In this workshop, we will go over the linguistic choices and discuss the Asian stereotypes that Wong uses in her performance, and whether such use of stereotypes authenticate or deauthenticate Wong’s Asian American identity. Additionally, looking at the YouTube comments will reveal a pattern that shows the intersection of race and gender.

October 2017

Sabrina D’Souza, Speech Language Pathology, School of Medicine
“Motherese” in English, Spanish, and English as a Second Language (ESL)

In this data analysis workshop, D’Souza will share some of their data collection and analysis on “Motherese” in Spanish and ESL speakers and whether “Motherese” has an effect on child language learning. Since the 1960s, researchers have studied how mothers talk to their babies and children. The high pitch, short repetitive phrases characterize what is known as “Motherese”. Little research has looked at “Motherese” in Spanish, let alone English as a Second Language. Therefore, in this experiment, we study audio-visual recordings of Latin-American immigrant mothers, as they talk and play with their children, while speaking in Spanish and ESL. We then compare the data with that of USA-born, native English speaking mothers.

September 2017

Steven Skaggs, Hite Art Institute, Fine Arts
Semiotics and Visual Communication

In this workshop, Skaggs will present an overview of how semiotics can aid in critique of art and design. Along with discussion on their recently published book FireSigns: A Semiotic Theory for Graphic Design (MIT Press).

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

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