Browsing University of Alaska Fairbanks by Subject "Storytelling"
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Natural histories of Yup'ik memoirsThis thesis explores how cultural knowledge is committed to textual form and circulated within and outside of linguistically marginalized communities. Working within a Central Yup'ik context, I have focused my research on collections of Yup'ik elders' memoirs housed within the Alaska Native Language Archive. Published Yup'ik elders' memoirs offer rich descriptions of Yup'ik cultural histories, epistemologies and statements about language, the expression and inclusion of which varies based on the interactional contexts, participant frameworks and funding institutions through which they were produced. This study incorporates both Indigenous and non-Indigenous theoretical frameworks related to the process of entextualization, or text creation, and the transmission of cultural knowledge. Drawing from archival materials and interviews with participants involved in their production and circulation, I identify the relevant linguistic ideologies and participant frameworks involved in the creation of these publications or "text artifacts" and frame my analysis with respect to the following research questions: How have published memoirs of Yup'ik elders emerged as a culturally salient genre of text? Who are the primary participants in the production, publication and circulation of Yup'ik memoirs? How do issues of identity, agency, authenticity and essentialism shape the form, thematic content and circulation of Yup'ik memoirs in Alaska? This thesis seeks to identify the primary participants and ideologies contributing to the publication of Yup'ik elders' memoirs, as well as the visibility or erasure of these actors within the published text of the memoirs. I further explore the specific ways in which individual voices, tribal, political and academic institutions and their ideological goals presuppose and contribute to broader cultural processes and shape the linguistic structure and content of textual artifacts produced. Although the documentation, description and analysis of Yup'ik language and culture has received sustained attention both within and outside the academy, this project is the first to investigate the processes and participant frameworks through which traditional Yup'ik cultural knowledge is entextualized and circulated as contemporary published text. This research offers significant insights into the collaborative efforts of Native and non-Native participants in the production of Yup'ik textual materials, while also contributing to a broader understanding of ideological goals and obstacles relative to processes of entextualization within communities facing marginalization or language endangerment within, and outside of, the circumpolar north. An analysis of the participants and ideologies shaping the production and circulation of Yup'ik memoirs provides and empirical framework for understanding the relationship between text artifacts and ongoing cultural processes, and contributes to an increasingly reflexive approach to anthropological and sociolinguistic research concerning identity, authenticity and the entextualization of traditional knowledge.