The research investigates how the Wauja people of Brazil’s Xingu Indigenous Park use language to describe their relationships to places in their territory, to perform ritual connections to ancestral, spirit, and animal beings who share their spaces, as well as to make political claims in defense of their territory to state and nonstate actors who threaten its integrity. I theorize indigenous epistemologies of place in terms of connections between discourses, or “interdiscursivity,” to explore how indigenous cosmology is tied to the politics of shaping indigenous futures in civil society. Methodological focus is on audiovisual digital recording and analysis of narratives, fieldwork-based ethnography, and collaborative digital mapping. Specific outcomes include GIS maps based in a digital database of indigenous knowledge of the Brazilian Upper Xinguan landscape.
“Kinship Chronotopes,” ed. with Nicholas Harkness, special issue, Anthropological Quarterly 88, 2 (Spring 2015)
“Avoidance as Alterity Stance: Naming in an Xinguan Chronotope of Affinity” in “Kinship Chronotopes,” Christopher Ball and Nicholas Harkness eds., special issue, Anthropological Quarterly 88, 2 (April 2015)
“On Dicentization,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 24, 3 (August 2014)
“Linguistic Subjectivity in Ecologies of Amazonian Language Change” in Salikoko Mufwene, ed., Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
“Negation in Wauja Discourse” in Lev Michael and Tania Granadillo, eds., Negation in Arawak (Brill, 2014)
“Stop Loss: Developing Interethnic Relations in Brazil’s Xingu Indigenous Park,” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 17, 3 (2012)
“Boasian Legacies in Linguistic Anthropology: A Centenary Review of 2011,” American Anthropologist 114, 2 (2012)
“As Spirits Speak: Interaction in Wauja Exoteric Ritual,” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 97, 1 (2011)
“Inalienability in Social Relations: Language, Possession, and Exchange in Amazonia,” Language in Society 40, 3 (2011)
Kellogg Institute Grants
The political economy of language in Amazonian ritual performance and development; narrative, place, and territorialization in Brazil’s Xingu Indigenous Park; dialect, religious historicity, and local revitalization in rural Japan.