Imagine Otherwise: Jenny L. Davis on Indigenous Language Revitalization

Jan 3, 2019 | Podcast

In the latest episode of Imagine otherwise, I interview linguistic anthropologist and Indigenous studies scholar Jenny L. Davis about the vibrant world of Chickasaw language revitalization; how Indigenous language activism is interwoven with documentary film, dance, ethnobotany, and other cultural productions; the importance of transnational skill sharing and capacity sharing; and why building a world where all Indigenous people get to eventually be elders is how Jenny imagines otherwise.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Jenny’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Jenny L. Davis

Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is the director of the Native American and Indigenous Languages (NAIL) Lab and an affiliate faculty of American Indian studies and gender and women’s studies.

Her research focuses on contemporary Indigenous language(s) and identity, with dual focuses on Indigenous language revitalization and Indigenous gender and sexuality.

She is the author of Talking Indian: Identity and Language Revitalization in the Chickasaw Renaissance (University of Arizona Press, 2018). She is also the co-editor of Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality (Oxford University Press, 2014), which was awarded the Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association.

Key quote

“I want a world in which we all get to be elders. I also am interested in a world where people spend more time learning than presuming to teach and spend more time listening than presuming to speak. It’s a general perspective where we slow down a little and de-center newness as the thing we’re always operating towards.”

– Jenny L. Davis on episode 79 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast


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