Current Institutional Affiliation
Director, Language Acquisition Center, University of Houston

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2007
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Texas / Austin
In School but Not of It: Challenging Social Structures through Kuna-Language Education

My dissertation project focuses on the development of Kuna – Spanish bilingual education in Panama after government funding was approved for national bilingual education programs in 2005. This research has two foci: the way in which the program is being conceived by educators and community members ideologically, and the way that language use in the classroom is producing and reproducing language ideologies. In order to address these two research questions, I will conduct interviews, do participant-observation and record classroom discourse in three different Kuna schools over the course of 20 months. This research will is supported by theoretical bases from linguistic anthropology, anthropology of education and indigenous cultural politics, and relies on tools offered by conversation analysis, the discourse-centered approach and critical discourse analysis. Utilizing these research strategies, my project seeks to document the process of developing an indigenous language education program in a postcolonial context in order to obtain a complex understanding of how languages ideologies and educational programs work in tandem.