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UK Linguistics Third Annual MLK Colloquium: Human rights, indigenous rights, and the current crisis at the border

In honor of the memory of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, this talk highlights the place of attitudes towards indigenous languages in the formation and reproduction of the human rights violations seen in recent events involving Central American immigrants seeking refuge in the United States. In 2018, two children died in the Border Patrol custody and a Border Patrol agent shot a young woman in the head. All three were native speakers of indigenous (Mayan) languages from Guatemala. The talk will first outline the history and current state of the issues behind the current immigration by Guatemalan Maya. The central role of language in the creation and current perpetuation of human rights violations will focus on two related factors. The first issue is that of language access. The denial of language access is sustained through negative attitudes towards indigenous languages and the persistent myth of the “desperate need” for indigenous interpreters. The second major issue is the failure to recognize or legitimize indigenous traditions of language use needed in the interpreting context. These include the conventions for holding a conversation, expectations for who should speak in what context, and forms of politeness. Consideration of these issues suggests that equality for indigenous peoples will never be achieved unless we first come to recognize and respect the languages they speak.
Warning:  to accurately present reality this talk contains graphic content.
UKAA Auditorium, WTY Library
Linguistics seminar series: Ashley Stinnett sgr252 Fri, 01/26/2018 - 10:21 am

Ashley Stinnett

Ashley Stinnett, is an assistant professor in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at Western Kentucky University. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. Her areas of specialization are linguistic anthropology with a sub-specialty in applied visual ethnography and educational documentary filmmaking. Her research primarily concerns the sociocultural and linguistic processes in which locally centered, historical and traditional knowledge specific to food are realized and put into daily practice. Ashley researches language production in communities of practice in occupational settings and community driven efforts, specifically related to food production. Additionally, she partners with local community organizations utilizing applied anthropological approaches while synchronously incorporating visual anthropology methodologies in both the practice and the production of visual media materials. Her primary research focuses on language practices of heritage butchers in the Southwestern United States. Her most recent project utilizes linguistic and sensory ethnography in a focus on food fermentation.

Niles Gallery, Lucille Little Library
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