"Until I Became a Professional, I Was Not Consciously Indigenous": One Intercultural Bilingual Educator's Trajectory in Indigenous Language Revitalization

Date: 
4:00 pm, Thursday, October 23, 2014
Location: 
254 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive
Speaker and Affiliation: 

Nancy Hornberger, University of Pennsylvannia

Drawing from long-term ethnographic research in the Andes, this paper examines one Quechua-speaking Indigenous bilingual educator’s trajectory as she traversed – and traverses -- from rural highland communities of southern Peru through development as teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and advocate for Indigenous identity and language revitalization across urban, peri-urban, and rural spaces.  Neri Mamani grew up in highland Peru and at the time I met her in 2005, was a bilingual intercultural education practitioner enrolled in master’s studies at the Program for Professional Development in Bilingual Intercultural Education for the Andean Region (PROEIB-Andes) at the University of San Simón in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Drawing from my ethnographic research at PROEIB that year, situated also within a broader context of my ethnographic research on bilingual education in the Andes across several decades and Neri’s life trajectory across those same decades, this paper analyzes her narrative as it emerged in a four-hour interview with me. 

I first briefly recount the outlines of Neri’s life trajectory and mobility as told in her interview narrative, and next explore some of the dimensions of the rural/urban, Quechua/Spanish, Indigenous/Western dichotomy she recalls from her childhood and sees reinforced by stereotypes and practices still in play in Peru and the Andes more generally.  Through her experiences, mobility, studies and work as bilingual teacher, teacher educator, and researcher, those distinctions have gradually blurred in her practices even as her identity has become more consciously Indigenous.  Now, she assumes a personal language policy of using Quechua in public, urban, and literate spaces in her daily life in order to break down the dichotomies and their attendant language and identity compartmentalizations. I take up the emerging conscious sense of Indigenous identity and practices she and her peers at PROEIB engage in, study, and advocate in their research and professional lives. I argue that their recognizing, valorizing, and studying the multiple and mobile linguistic, cultural, and intercultural resources at play in their own and others’ professional practices around bilingual intercultural education enable them to co-construct an Indigenous identity that challenges deep-seated social inequalities in their Andean world.

Contact: 

Dianna Murphy, 262-1473

Sponsor(s): 

Language Institute, Doctoral Program in Second Language Acquisition, Latin American, Carribean and Iberian Studies (LACIS); Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Department of Educational Policy Studies. 

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