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Documenting kinship systems

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Title:Documenting kinship systems
Authors:Golub, Alex
Contributors:Golub, Alex (speaker)
Date Issued:28 Feb 2013
Description:Kinship -- the relations of nurturance and belonging forged in the course of reproducing human communities -- is central linguistic and cultural conservation. A cultural/linguistic phenomenon to be sustained in its own right, it is also an important context to be aware of when doing linguistic work. This masterclass will cover basic information necessary to study and study within kinship systems.

First, we will cover 'classic' kinship theory, including classic taxonomies of kinship terminology (especially 'Hawaiian', 'Eskimo' and 'Iroquois' and 'Omaha' systems -- the most common systems), how to create well-formed kinship diagrams (the 'circles' and 'triangles' approach) as well as shorthand notation for kinship systems. We will also discuss the standard method for eliciting kinship systems, how best to record genealogical information in the field, and some tips on the practicalities of kinship research. Finally, we will discuss special topics you might encounter in the field -- specialized terms for siblings, dealing with taboos on the names of the dead, teknonymy, ethnonyms, specialized terms for residence, avoidance terms, and so forth.

In the second half of the class we will cover current theory in kinship. Advances in anthropological theory have replaced traditional theories of kinship with a more generalized theory of relationality -- how human beings create social relationships more broadly. A brief introduction to this work will help familiarize you with forms of relatedness that might not look like 'kinship' in the standard Western sense but which are still an integral part of social relations (joking avoidance partnerships, milk brotherhood, etc.).
Rights:Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Appears in Collections: 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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