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Radical Representations: Exploring Indigenous and Minority Languages in the Artistic and Literary Realms

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Organizer: Eliza Smith

Co-Organizer: Osiris Gomez

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This seminar focuses on minority and indigenous languages in poems, memoirs, novels, and reference works, and the ways in which writers represented marginalized identities (either their own identity, a collective identity, and/or their characters’ identities) through language-play, poetics, and ultimately, through a hybridization of mainstream culture and subculture. With this exploration of subculture through language within the artistic and literary realms, we wish to analyze the process of creation that takes place, in addition to the new forms of poetics, literary genre, bilingual literature, and social representations that emerged as a result. How did these radical representations create new cultural, political, social, and literary spaces for writers and minorities alike? How did these representations alter the reader’s perception of real and imagined spaces, including the literary space? How did they inspire the reader to reimagine social concepts of certain minorities while at the same time reinforce a collective representation of these marginalized individuals? To what extent did writers appropriate, harvest, and manipulate the languages and identities that they represented? And finally, to what extent was self-representation and/or self-determination possible with these texts? 
With these questions in mind, we seek to deepen our understanding of the linguistic characterizations of minority and indigenous peoples within artistic and literary domains throughout the globe and from all time periods. Furthermore, we are interested in the ways in which these representations simultaneously bolstered and broke down certain stereotypes regarding the individuals portrayed. Finally, we will ultimately look at the emergence of new creative avenues for minorities that came about as a result of these representations.

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