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Faculty

Erin Debenport


Assistant Professor


Contact Information

Email    erindebenport@ucla.edu
Office  Haines 318B
Phone  

I am a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist, interested in technologies of language circulation, secrecy and (in)visibility, indigeneity and sovereignty, and critical language documentation. My work is concentrated in the Pueblo Southwest and the Mexico-Texas-New Mexico border region. My book, Fixing the Books: Secrecy, Literacy, and Perfectibility in Indigenous New Mexico (SAR, 2015), ethnographically explores the creation and control of written texts in a Pueblo community. My new project, based in an indigenous community in El Paso, Texas, looks at the inverse: how language is used to render political groups visible and viable. Since 2003, I have contributed to language documentation and revitalization programs in Kiowa-Tanoan speaking communities, collaborating with community members on creating archives and pedagogical materials. My work has appeared in journals that include: Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Language & Communication, International journal of the Sociology of Language, and American Indian Culture and Research Journal.

Degrees

Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Chicago (2009)

Awards

Nominee, Outstanding Teaching of the Year, University of New Mexico, 2015.

Nominee, UNM New Faculty Teaching Award, 2010-2011.  University of New Mexico. 

Earl S. and Esther Johnson Prize for Outstanding M.A. Thesis in the Social Sciences, 1998-1999, University of Chicago Masters of Arts Program in the Social Sciences.

Grants

Project: “Complicating Borders: Producing (In)visibility in Pueblo El Paso.”  Snead Wertheim Endowed Lectureship, UNM Departments of History and Anthropology, April 2014.

Project: “History and Anthropology in El Paso/Juárez.”  UNM Latin American and Iberian Studies Institute.  Title IV Research and Course Development Grant, February 2014.

Project: “Literacy, Perfectibility, and Temporality: Reconciling Pueblo Imagined Pasts and Futures.” PI: Erin Debenport.  Christopher Smeall Fellowship in Anthropological Linguistics, School of Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico. June 2010 – August 2010.

Project: “Indigenous Literacies: Historical and Emergent Writing Practices in the American Southwest.” PI: Erin Debenport.  Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship.  September 2009 - May 2010.

Project: “‘Listen So You Can Live Life the Way it’s Supposed to Be Lived’: Paradoxes of Text, Secrecy, and Language at a New Mexico Pueblo.”  PI: Erin Debenport.  American Association of University Women, American Dissertation Fellowship. September 2008 – May 2009.

Project: “‘Listen So You Can Live Life the Way it’s Supposed to Be Lived’: Paradoxes of Text, Secrecy, and Language at a New Mexico Pueblo.”  PI: Erin Debenport.  University of Chicago, Division of the Humanities Dissertation Fellowship.  September 2008 – May 2009.

Project: “‘Listen So You Can Live Life the Way it’s Supposed to Be Lived’: Paradoxes of Text, Secrecy, and Language at a New Mexico Pueblo.”  PI: Michael Silverstein. National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics. January 2007- December 2008.

Project: “‘Listen So You Can Live Life the Way it’s Supposed to Be Lived’: Paradoxes of Text, Secrecy, and Language at a New Mexico Pueblo.”  PI: Erin Debenport.  University of Chicago, Division of the Humanities Dissertation Research Travel Grant.  January 2007.

Project: “Community Language Documentation at Sandia Pueblo.”  PI: Erin Debenport. Endangered Languages Fund. June 2006 – August 2006. 

Project: “Documenting Southern Tiwa at Sandia Pueblo, New Mexico.”  PI: Erin Debenport.  National Science Foundation/National Endowment for the Humanities Documenting Indigenous Languages Fellowship (DEL).  September 2005 – August 2006. 

Project: U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies Summer Fellowship (FLAS); Language of Study: Yucatec Maya. PI: Erin Debenport.  U.S. Department of Education.  June 2002 – August 2002.

Project: U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS); Language of Study: Yucatec Maya.  PI: Erin Debenport.  U.S. Department of Education.  September 2001 – May 2002. 

 

Selected Publications

Debenport, Erin. 2016 (in press).  “Perfecting Publics: Future Audiences and the Aesthetics of Refinement.” Future Indigenous Publics, Current Linguistic Anthropological Engagements, edited by Paul V. Kroskrity, Barbra A. Meek, and M. Eleanor Nevins, Routledge.

Debenport, Erin. 2015. Fixing the Books: Secrecy, Literacy, and Perfectibility in Indigenous New Mexico. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.

Debenport, Erin. 2012. “Continuous Perfectibility: Pueblo Propriety and the Consequences of Literacy.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 22(3): 201-219.

Debenport, Erin. 2011. “As the Rez Turns: Anomalies Within and Beyond the Boundaries of a Pueblo Community.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 35(2): 87- 109.

Debenport, Erin. 2010. “Comparative Accounts of Linguistic Fieldwork as Ethical Exercises.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 206: 227–244.

Debenport, Erin. 2010. “The Potential Complexity of ‘Universal Ownership’: Cultural Property, Textual Circulation, and Linguistic Fieldwork.” Language & Communication 30(3): 204- 210. 

Research

Technologies of language circulation; secrecy; indigeneity; semiotics; critical language documentation; language ideologies; Kiowa-Tanoan languages.