Leonard colloquium

September 10, 2023

The 2023-2024 colloquium series begins on Monday, September 18, with a talk by Wesley Y. Leonard (UC Riverside), rescheduled from last fall. The talk will take place in Dwinelle 370 and synchronously via Zoom from 3:10-5pm. The title of the talk is "Engaging Native American Protocols for Decolonizing Linguistics Pedagogy," and the abstract is as follows:

Although there is an increasing focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in the field of Linguistics, members of Native American and other Indigenous communities remain underrepresented—and often report feeling unwelcome. A recurring concern is that Linguistics, despite a strong disciplinary interest in Indigenous languages, is not accountable to Indigenous histories, protocols, and ways of experiencing language. A wider issue is that colonization is endemic, and academic norms (including whose worldviews guide curriculum) have developed accordingly. For both points, a question emerges about what linguists can or should do in response.

In this colloquium, I examine this question through the norms of how Linguistics is or could be taught, focusing in particular on introductory courses—those in which students are most likely to learn about the field for the first time—and how these courses can engage Native American worldviews and protocols, such as a focus on relationships (relationality) and protocols of honoring those relationships (relational accountability). I argue that doing so when framing core concepts, selecting and presenting examples, and discussing social issues such as language endangerment, naturally supports JEDI for members of Native American and other Indigenous communities, while also improving linguistics pedagogy in general.