Bios for Sustainable Pluralism: Linguistic and Cultural Resilience in Multiethnic Societies

Gaby Bamana has recently completed a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Wales, UK. A native of the DR Congo, Bamana has done extensive field research in Mongolia. His research concerns everyday practices and the construction of meaning. The focus of his research has been on everyday tea practices, objects and texts and the construction of female identity in rural Mongolia.  Affiliation:  Art Institutes International, Minneapolis & University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Mark Bender is Professor and Chair of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University. He specializes in traditional performance and performance-connected literature of China, including local Han and ethnic minority cultures. His books include Plum and Bamboo: China's Suzhou Chantefable Tradition (University of Illinois Press, 2003), Butterfly Mother: Miao (Hmong) Creation Epics from Guizhou Province, China (Hackett Publishing, 2006), The Columbia Anthology of Chinese Folk and Popular Literature, edited with Victor Mair (2011). Currently he is working on ecological themes and other trends in ethnic poetry in southwest China and North-East India.

Rachel Steindel Burdin is a PhD Candidate in the Linguistics department at The Ohio State University. Her research interests primarily center around contact-induced change, mainly focusing on Yiddish and other Jewish languages.

Katie Carmichael is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. Her work centers on the relationship between regional dialects and the places they are spoken—especially when that relationship is somehow challenged, as in the case of migration or displacement. Her current research agenda focuses on post-Katrina Greater New Orleans, and other communities in South Louisiana.

Kati Fitzgerald is a PhD student and University Fellow at The Ohio State University. She received a BA from Barnard College in Theatre and performed two years of field work and study in Kathmandu, Nepal and Lhasa, Tibet. Her work focuses on Tibetan opera (lhamo) as it is performed in and outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. She is especially interested in didactic tools used in oral lineage transmission and ideas of authenticity in relation to oral performance modes. She is currently further delving into the religious biography (rnam thar) from which lhamo scripts emerge.

Lenore Grenoble is the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago and the Project Coordinator of the Arctic Indigenous Language Vitality Project, working for the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Canada. Her research focuses on contact linguistics and issues of language endangerment, attrition, and revitalization. She is currently engaged in fieldwork in Greenland and Siberia, studying the interrelations between language, culture and environment in the Arctic.

Camiel Hamans (1948), linguist, editor and political advisor. Camiel Hamans was secretary-general of the Dutch social-democrats in the European Parliament, was deputy editor in chief of a regional Dutch newspaper and worked for the Dutch radio. He taught at the universities of Amsterdam and Leiden (Netherlands) and is now visiting professor of Dutch linguistics at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland and visiting scholar at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil.  

Jessica Kantarovich will be a first-year Linguistics PhD student at the University of Chicago this fall. She is interested in all things related to language change, particularly language contact, endangerment, and death.

Brian D. Joseph is Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics and The Kenneth E. Naylor Professor of South Slavic Languages and Linguistics at The Ohio State University.  He has been at OSU since 1979 and teaches mainly in the areas of historical linguistics and Balkan linguistics, topics which have involved him to some extent in matters of language endangerment, language death, and language vitality.  Recent work of his in this general area has seen him has engaged in fieldwork among Greek speakers in southern Albania.

Marivic Lesho is a lecturer in the Ohio State Department of Linguistics. Her research has focused primarily on the sociolinguistic and phonetic documentation of the Chabacano creoles spoken in the Philippines.

Morgan Y. Liu is a cultural anthropologist studying Muslim communities in the former Soviet Union, the impact of oil extraction on Central Asian societies, urban space, and Islamic ideas of social justice.  He is an Associate Professor in Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, The Ohio State University.  

John N. Low received his Ph.D. in American Culture at the University of Michigan, and is an enrolled citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. He is also the recipient of a graduate certificate in Museum Studies and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan. He earned a BA from Michigan State University, a second BA in American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota, and an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.  Low’s manuscript, Imprints, the Pokagon Potawatomi Indians and Chicago is currently under contract for publication by the Michigan State University Press. Professor Low’s research interests and courses at the Ohio State University – Newark include American Indian Histories, Literatures, and Cultures, Indigenous canoe cultures around the world, Urban American Indians, museums, material culture and representation, memory studies, American Indian law and treaty rights, Indigenous cross-cultural connections, critical landscape studies, and Native environmental perspectives and practices.

Kendra McSweeney is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at Ohio State. She has worked with indigenous populations in Central America for over 20 years, focusing especially on socioecological resilience and demographic change in eastern Honduras. Her work has been supported by the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation, and is published in Science and PNAS.


Jane Mitsch is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at the Ohio State University. She is interested in sociolinguistics, borders, and the postcolonial life of languages in West Africa.

Salikoko Mufwene is the Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as Professor on the Committee on Evolutionary Biology and on the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. He is also an affiliate of the Department of Comparative Human Development and of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. His current research is on language evolution, including language birth and death, the indigenization of English and other colonial European languages worldwide, economic globalization and language vitality, and the phylogenetic emergence of language.    

Dorothy Noyes is Professor of Folklore in the Departments of English and Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University, and a faculty associate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies. Her ethnographic and historical research focus on the traditional public sphere in Catalonia, Spain, and France; she also writes on folklore theory and on the international policy careers of culture concepts.

Wenyuan Shao is a Ph.D. student in OSU's Department of East Asian Languages and Literature. She studies ethnic minority literatures from Southwest China, with special interest in the "tradition-oriented texts" written in traditional Yi scripts. Before coming to Ohio State, Wenyuan joined a volunteer program led by China’s Ministry of Education in 2009 and taught in an elementary school located in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. She was a member of the highly invested project “Pattern of the Multiethnic Harmony in Guizhou and Their Cultural Relationship with ASEAN” in 2011.

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