Teresa L. McCarty is the George F. Kneller Chair in Education and Anthropology in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. An educational anthropologist and applied linguist, she has been a curriculum developer, teacher, and coordinator of American Indian education programs at the local, state and national levels. Her research and teaching focus on language education policy, Indigenous/language minority education, youth language ideologies and practices, critical literacy studies, and ethnographic studies of education.
Teresa is the past president of the Council on Anthropology and Education, former editor of Anthropology and Education Quarterly, current co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education, and associate editor of the American Educational Research Journal and Language Policy. In 2010, she received the George and Louise Spindler Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education for distinguished and inspirational contributions to the anthropology of education. Her books include A Place To Be Navajo – Rough Rock and the Struggle for Self-Determination in Indigenous Schooling (2002), Language, Literacy, and Power in Schooling (2005), "To Remain an Indian": Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (with K. T. Lomawaima, 2006). Ethnography and Language Policy (2011), Language Planning and Policy in Native America (2013), and Indigenous Youth and Multilingualism (with L.T. Wyman and S.E. Nicholas, forthcoming, 2013).
April 12 speech topic:A “Rightful Place”: Contesting Discourses of Disability in Indigenous Language Education and Reclamation
AbstractFor Freire, a primary lever of self- and community empowerment was language: “respect for the students’ language, … for their culture, and above all, for their cultural identity” (Pedagogy of the City, 1993: 114). Throughout the world, Indigenous and other minoritized peoples are fighting for rights to their languages of identity against a historical backdrop of linguistic and cultural oppression and a contemporary context of globalization, standardization, and socioeconomic stratification.
In this presentation I focus on language education and reclamation among Indigenous Americans in the U.S. I begin with the premise that the labels used to name, classify, and analyze language varieties and competencies construct realities that alternatively enable or disable the (re)acquisition of those languages and the empowerment of their speakers. Expanding upon Ramanathan’s (2010) notion of dis-citizenship, I argue that these labeling practices can create a logic whereby “small,” non-dominant, and endangered languages are viewed as “dis-citizens” in the world of languages – incomplete, non-normative, and disabled – potentially undermining community-based language reclamation efforts and reinforcing existing social and linguistic hierarchies.
Drawing on comparative ethnographic research on Native American language loss and reclamation, I explore the ways in which Indigenous communities are interrupting these labeling practices through bold new language education efforts in and out of school. On both the individual and societal levels, full linguistic citizenship entails a critical rethinking of dominant sociolinguistic labels, opening new spaces for Indigenous and other minoritized languages to take their “right-full” place within their communities and among the language communities of the world.