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Academic Paper

Title: "To all the former cats and stomps of the Navajo Nation:" Performance, the individual, and cultural poetic traditions
Author: Anthony K. Webster
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Southern Illinois University
Linguistic Field: Ling & Literature; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Navajo
Abstract: This article is concerned with understanding and analyzing the role of the individual in Navajo poetry performances, in particular, three performances of putatively the same poem by the Navajo poet Laura Tohe. One performance is the written orthographic poem, and the other two are oral performances that have been recorded and analyzed. It is argued that a focus on the individual performer and on multiple performances can provide insight into the relationship between social constructions of self and identity within the constraints and opportunities particular media and contexts provide. It also reveals the importance of studying individual creativity in language and culture research.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 37, Issue 1.

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