Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Honors College and Anthropology, University of Oklahoma

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2002
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Music, Columbia University
Expressive Practices and Identity Formation among Miskitu Children

Sixty miles off the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, Corn Island has been dominated by English-speaking Creoles since the mid-19th century. 20th-century economic and political changes in Nicaragua brought Miskitu Afro-Indian settlers, who now constitute between 35% and 40% of a continually growing, culturally diverse island population. Miskitu Afro-Indian children on the island are exposed to an array of languages and expressive styles that aesthetically shape musical, verbal, and kinetic modalities of communication. Through their participation in expressive practices, Miskitu children negotiate fluid boundaries of social "belonging" in terms of gendered, generational, ethnic, religious, and.-regional identities. I propose to conduct an ethnography of children's expressive interaction across a range of social contexts in order to answer the following question: What are the repertoires of Miskitu children's expressive practices on Corn Island, and how are they used to affiliate and differentiate across a range of contexts, thus mediating the ongoing construction of social identity and difference? This research will contribute to general understandings of aesthetic socialization, multilayered identity formation, and children's informal learning processes.