Semiotics: Culture in Context Workshop

WhenNovember 08, 2018 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
WhereHaskell Hall 101
Contact InformationLinguistics Department
DescriptionHannah McElgunn
PhD Candidate, Anthropology, University of Chicago

Discussant: Emma Gilheany
Anthropology, University of Chicago

Thursday, November 8, 2018
4:30-6pm | Haskell M102
**Please note the new location of the workshop on the Mezzanine of Haskell Hall, Room 102**

Abstract:
The broadcasters on KUYI, the Hopi radio station, often remind listeners that they are speaking from the center of the universe. Indeed, the “footprints”, itàakuku (shrines, landmarks, trails, etc) that lead to Hopiland from all directions are evidence of clan migrations towards this center place. Yet, since the 19th century, the integrity of the Hopi mesas as the center of the Hopi universe has been challenged as missionaries, anthropologists, and looters disconnected Hopi cultural material from this center place and built up distant repositories of various sorts. This paper examines the semiotic techniques by which the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, along with other tribal members, works to repair this breach. I discuss three examples where Hopi actors regiment both historically collected material and potential future material. I show that these actors strive to tether different instantiations of Hopi cultural material, in particular language, to its origo (deictic center), Hopiland. Across these examples, actors employ different translational strategies to make this tethering legible. This effort seems to be less about “jealously guarding” cultural material, as past anthropologists have suggested, than attempting to fix the value of different instantiations of the language, so that even as they travel beyond the Hopi homeland, they simultaneously point back to it, shoring up the center place.
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Workshops
Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.