WORKSHOP: Amerindian Linguistic Natures

WORKSHOP: Amerindian Linguistic Natures

SALSA XII Sesquiannual Conference – Vienna, 2019

Amerindian Linguistic NaturesOrganizers:
Guilherme Orlandini Heurich, University College London, UK
Jan David Hauck, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

This workshop aims at exploring “natures of language” in indigenous collectives of Lowland South America, following the approach we have developed in the 2018 Language & Communication special issue “Language in the Amerindian Imagination.” In the workshop we will discuss the question “what language is” as it pertains to particular ethnographic contexts. Foregrounding local conceptions of practices such as conversations, songs, wailing, narratives, oratory, music and the like, usually understood to be instances of more abstract and all-encompassing notions such as “language,” “discourse,” or “communication,” our aim is to explore possible ontological variation between these. We are particularly interested in their relationship to concepts such as nature, culture, or humanity, where ontological difference has already been amply discussed. In the Western intellectual tradition, the emergence of “language” as autonomous domain was intimately tied to its mediating role in the separation of nature/nonhumans and society/culture/humanity (as discussed by Bauman and Briggs, with reference to Latour’s work on the modern constitution). Ethnographies from the Americas provide evidence of alternative ontologies (sensu Viveiros de Castro) as well as discourse practices that defy the privileging of symbolic, denotational, or referential aspects of discourse, challenging its separation from the realms of practice, the body, the nonhuman, and the material, and the universality of an all-encompassing “nature of language” underlying variation. If the latter is an artifact of the Western imaginary, then how do Amerindian intellectual traditions make sense of different discursive phenomena and compare or translate between linguistic forms?

Workshop Schedule

Friday, 28 June, WMW DG18 (limited admission)
Session 1
14:30 15:00 Pedro de Niemeyer Cesarino. Verbal arts and speculative knowledge in Amazonia.
15:00 15:30 Laura Graham. Speaking/Singing as Spirits: Revisiting Semanticity and Melody in the Multiple Natures of Language.
15:30 16:10 Discussion
Session 2
16:40 17:10 Renato Sztutman. Notas sobre a relação entre linguagem e política nas terras baixas da América do Sul.
17:10 17:40 Jan David Hauck. On the emergence of language.
17:40 18:20 Discussion
Saturday, 29 June, WMW DG18 (limited admission)
Session 3
11:00 11:30 Filip Rogalski. Name, voice, and ethos – enacting agents in the everyday life among the Arabela (Peruvian Amazonia).
11:30 12:00 Christopher Ball. Enaction in Amazonia.
12:00 12:40 Discussion
Session 4
14:30 15:00 Juan Alvaro Echeverri. Language is Breath: Aunque aprendas poco se te abre el coco.
15:00 15:30 Guilherme Orlandini Heurich. Voice and voicing in Amazonia.
15:30 16:10 Discussion

SALSA 2019 Panels