November 29, 2018
3:30 pm | Andy’s Place (AH100)
Language & Culture
Associate Professor Inge Genee will speak to the understanding, revitalization and reclamation of the Blackfoot language. Professor Kevin McGeough will discuss methods used to decipher textual records from the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and the Near East.
Inge Genee | Modern Languages & Indigenous Studies
Title: Learning About Indigenous Cultures Through Indigenous Languages
Indigenous cultures and languages all over the world are alive and kicking despite a long history of colonial suppression, but many Indigenous languages are endangered or have already gone to sleep. Some languages are being revitalized or re-awakened, often with the help of written descriptions made by outsiders. In this talk, I will discuss some of the ways in which the vocabulary and grammar of Indigenous languages can be used to understand modern and traditional practice and epistemology, with special attention to the Blackfoot language, and illustrate how oral and written sources can both contribute to understanding, revitalization and reclamation.
Kevin McGeough | Geography
Title: Studying Ancient Cultures Through Ancient Languages
The ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and the Near East left behind a remarkable corpus of textual records written in a variety of languages. These are incredible resources for historians, but since the writing systems had fallen out of use for thousands of years, they had to be deciphered in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this talk, I will discuss some of the methods scholars use to understand these writings, illustrate the challenges that historians face when languages fall out of use, and how the survival of languages like Hebrew and Coptic has allowed access to Near Eastern scripts.