Transforming Indigeneity: Urbanization and Language Revitalization in the Brazilian Amazon
Published: February 2018© 2018
264 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.50 in
Transforming Indigeneity is an examination of the role that language revitalization efforts play in cultural politics in the small city of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, located in the Brazilian Amazon. Sarah Shulist concentrates on how debates, discussions, and practices aimed at providing support for the Indigenous languages of the region shed light on both global issues of language revitalization and on the meaning of Indigeneity in contemporary Brazil.
With 19 Indigenous languages still spoken today, São Gabriel is characterized by a high proportion of Indigenous people and an extraordinary amount of linguistic diversity. Shulist investigates what it means to be Indigenous in this setting of urbanization, multilingualism, and state intervention, and how that relates to the use and transmission of Indigenous languages. Drawing on perspectives from Indigenous and non-Indigenous political leaders, educators, students, and state agents, and by examining the experiences of urban populations, Transforming Indigeneity provides insight on the revitalization of Amazonian Indigenous languages amidst large social change.
1. Playing Indian: The Politics of Language, Identity, and Culture in Urban Amazonia
2. Language Policy on Paper and in Practice
3. Education in the City: Defining Urban Indigeneity
4. Making an Indigenous Public: A Perspective from the Non-Official Languages
5. Revising Expectations: Reflections on the Research Process
6. Conclusions: Language Revitalization and Urban Indigeneity
"This fascinating book examines Indigenous rights mobilizing and ethnic revival in the Amazonian city of São Gabriel, Brazil’s "most Indigenous city." Sarah Shulist’s study of an urban and diasporic context calls for a re-examination of how we think of the connection between language, culture, and identity. Asking provocative questions, Shulist examines how São Gabriel residents work with new systems of meaning for well-known symbols of Indigenous identity, learning to demonstrate their Indigenous status in ways that are intelligible to the powerful outsiders who have made this label both symbolically and materially crucial."Jean E. Jackson, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Clearly and powerfully exploring the neglected topic of Indigenous language revitalization in urban areas, Sarah Shulist has provided a truly path-breaking volume. An exemplary work of collaborative linguistic anthropology, Transforming Indigeneity guides us to new understandings of Indigenous experience and the crucial role of revitalization practices and politics in a Brazilian Amazonian town."Paul V. Kroskrity, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles