A tarot reading for schoolwork

As many of you have no doubt clued into in addition to schoolwork I’m also a practicing tarot reader. While I don’t often find time to do readings for myself, when it came to planning for my archaeogaming thesis I knew that subconscious insight would not only be invaluable but also that I needed to make time for it. To that end I would like to share a tarot reading and spread info I did for myself with respect to writing planning for my archaeogaming thesis!


Question:

  • What if: I become more critical (even biting) in my writing on the topic of archaeogaming?

Spread (keywords taken from Biddy Tarot):

  1. Past (What has brought me to this crossroads?)
    • King of Pentacles: security, control, power, discipline, abundance
  2. Present (How is this affecting my current ability to work?)
    • The Moon: Illusion, fear, anxiety, subconscious, intuition
  3. Future (If I continue on this proposed trajectory what will that look like?)
    • King of Swords: Clear thinking, intellectual, power, authority, truth
  4. How us this trajectory going to look or be experienced by me on a daily basis?
    • 9 of Swords: Depression, nightmares, intense anxiety, despair
  5. How do I make my project ideas a reality?
    • 7 of Wands: Challenge, competition, perseverance, defense, boundaries
  6. What is something I need to let go of in order to move forward?
    • 10 of Wands: Burden, responsibility, hard work, stress, achievement
  7. What is an example of how my project will change when moving forward on this proposed trajectory?
    • The Star: Hope, faith, purpose, renewal, spirituality

Overall:

Looking at the first 3 cards as a small past/present/future spread wherein the past I’ve played it safe and currently that makes me especially anxious and overconcerned with how my words affect others. This discomfort is important for me to experience and learn in order to move forward with some Big Sword Energy.

Moving forward even though this path will aid in my growth toward being capable of criticism it won’t be easy to work through on a daily basis. The path to success here is absolutely addressing that I’m uncomfortable, and yet pushing forward. I need to let go of this idea that the burden of consequence is all on me as opposed to something which is co-produced through discursive community practices.

Moving through this difficult emotional aspect of the writing process will not only make my writing more intellectual in scope and presentation, but also bring my thesis closer into myself and my own thoughts. Subsequently it will become more individually attuned to my own thoughts and re/actions, as opposed to me regurgitating the thoughts of others.


Anyways I definitely think that regardless of the format self-reflective exercises are important when it comes to projects! They allow us to more accurately assess not only our needs and wants, but also realistically assess our own capability to follow through on the actions associated with said needs and wants. With this spread especially I feel more oriented toward being critical without being biting, whereas prior to this spread I felt compelled to uncritically address certain formative texts and thinkers as formative.

What’s your preferred reflection tool?

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Writing Templates (!!!)

Hi all! It’s officially the point in the term when research essays and other major writing assignments are creeping close. To that end I figured it was time for me to post the writing templates I’ve pulled together based on my notes from the following classes (occasionally verbatim from the prof, which is why I’m listing them–ie. for citation and for reference that some of the questions are irrelevant/are ignoreable for different topics):

  • Archaeology of Gender w/ Dr. Katie Biittner
  • Anthropology of Language Revitalization w/ Dr. Sarah Shulist
  • Contemporary English and Anglophone Literature w/ Dr. Sarah Copland
  • Literature of the Later Victorian Period w/ Dr. Daniel Martin
  • Topics in Literary Theory: Dysfluency w/ Dr. Daniel Martin

I hate writing essays, so when I do write them I like to rely on a tried-and-true methodology for writing, which is what these questions provide for me at least!

tumblr_njbyd1NOsL1u9nolao1_500


Overall Responses:

Overview of theme/reading chosen

  • Why did I choose this reading?/Why am I choosing this topic?
  • How does this fit with course themes?
  • Intended audience/appropriateness for said audience
    • Defend why even within an academic book review there should be discussion of whether or not something is engaging
    • (ie because when something is more engaging it’s more accessible to a wider range of people!)

How will I be building upon (and hopefully be moving beyond) research already conducted on this topic?

Does this topic gesture toward a larger, more generalized phenomenon?

  • What are the implications of this?

What’s my thesis?


Chapter summaries/source summaries in general:

Reading title

Type of reading

Summarization

  • Who wrote the chapter?
  • Does the introduction provide relevant information and establish a clear purpose?
  • Is there clarity of concept throughout?
  • What type of language is used throughout (ex. does the writer write in their language? are translations provided? what is the effect of these choices?)
  • Are any aesthetic objects/images used? Do they enhance or detract from the presentation of the chapter?

Contextualization

  • How is language endagerment/revitalization addressed or incorporporated?
  • Is the format catchy/clever? Is it engaging?

Identification

  • What methods/innovations/interventions does this chapter bring to the scholarship on language endangerment/revitalization?

Article/Media Review:

Summary

Research design

  • What is the purpose of this article?
  • What are the major questions being asked? Addressed? Answered?
  • How are they being answered?
  • What sorts of research were undertaken?
  • Which school of archaeology does this research fit into (culture-historical, processual, post-processual, cognitive, Marxist, etc)? Why?

If dealing with an arch site, describe the subject area.

  • Location?
  • Numbered or named?
  • Preservation of material – good or bad?
  • Are organic materials present?
  • Size?
  • What kind of site is it?
  • What do you know about the current environmental context?
  • What is its paleaoenvironmental context (ie when was it occupied)?
  • What cultural period or periods does the site or materials studied belong to?
  • What was found (ie artefacts, ecofacts, features, fossils)?
    • Also address method/s by which dates for the site or artefacts/features found were determined and implications of these dates (if any)

How is gender defined?

  • What sorts of language around gender are used?
  • Is this article relevant to the course and its themes?
  • Does this article contribute to class discussions? Why/why not?
  • Review the course objective–does this article contribute to your ability to meet these objectives?

What was the significance of the article?

  • Is future research or discussion needed or necessary?
  • What do you think about this article?
  • What more could the authors do to strengthen their arguments or conclusions?
  • Would future research be justified/required to strengthen the arguments made, to address the questions posed?
  • Do the authors have a bias that may influence what they have written?

How is the information presented?

  • Is it well written and organized, or poorly written and disjointed?
  • Are figures/charts/images included or are they needed/not needed?
  • Can you understand what the author is trying to say?
  • Are the sources used by the author primary/secondary/non-existent.
  • Are the sources diverse?
  • Are the arguments presented well supported?

What is your opinion of this article?

  • Did you like/dislike/agree/disagree? Why or why not?

Blog/Media Review:

Overall Summary:

  • How did I find it?
  • Was it something I read before the beginning of this class?
  • What was my initial impression?
  • What is my impression now?

Read/listen to at least three posts/episodes (observations – at least 3 paragraphs)

  • Note the name of each post/episode, and date published.
  • Provide a summary of the post/episode, taking note of as many of the following as possible:
    • Introduction
      • Is the introduction catchy and clever?
      • Does it provide relevant information and establish a clear purpose?
      • Does it engage the reader?
    • Content
      • Is there a clarity of concept?
      • Was correct grammar used throughout?
      • Do the word choices “bring the topic to life”?
      • Is the topic creative and original–does it have “personality”?
      • Is the information presented accurate?
      • Was the length of the post appropriate for the content presented?
      • Are aesthetic objects used which enhance the presentation of the post? Are they captioned or annotated to their original source?

Is the site easy to access? By whom?

  • Are responses/comments allowed, and if so do they contribute to the discussion/to your understanding of the topic?
  • Do links work?
  • Is the blog easy to navigate?
  • Is there an “About” page? Is it useful?

Thoughts and impressions (summary – probs 2-3 paragraphs; should address each post individually and also discuss content comparatively; use terminology from the course in this discussion)


Annotated Biblios:

Intro

  • What are my proposed sources?
    • What will be compared with what? Contrasted? Critiqued? To what effect?

Citation

Provide a summary of the article. Avoid using direct quotes.

Provide a critical review of:

  • The information presented
    • Strengths and weaknesses
    • Context – what is the purpose of this article?
    • Are the sources used primary/secondary/non-existent?
    • What are the author/s’ bias/es?
    • What are the credentials of the author/s?
    • Who is the intended audience?
  • How the information is presented
    • Is it well written and organized, or poorly written and disjointed?
    • Are the figures/charts/images included needed/not needed?
    • Is the author’s point easy to discern?

Provide a discussion

  • Take a position (agree/disagree/like/dislike)–why?
    • Regarding text
    • Regarding charts/figures/images
  • Does this source contribute to discussion/topics in this course? How? Why?

Research paper:

Narrowing/Refining topic:

  • People
    • Key figures
    • Culture
  • Place/s
    • Sites
    • Countries/regions
  • Time
  • Material/s
    • Artifacts
    • Ecofacts
    • Human remains
  • Theories/Methods
    • Sourced of data
    • Ethnohistoric arch.
    • Experimental arch.

Body:

  • Biggest concern?
  • Adjacent concerns?
  • Proposal
  • Wrapping up of concerns, if possible (actual body paragraphs)

Conclusion


Closing statements

  • What questions am I left with?
  • Are there any knowledge gaps apparent?
  • How could/should this source be improved?

 

Draft of an (undergrad) archaeogaming thesis

As many of you know I’ll be beginning my anthropology honours thesis writing come September 10th. As such I’ve written down/sketched out a bit of an outline of what I’d like the next 8 months to look like, and before I submit my final draft of this document to my supervisors (@kbiittner and @sarahshulist) I’d love to get your feedback! What readings am I missing? Are there other projects I should spend my time on? Other comments or concerns? Let me know @mxmoireabh or through the comments!


Archaeogaming (September – mid October)
Readings:

Assignments:

  • Summary of intent: “Why study linguistic archaeogaming?”/self orientation (20%)
  • Ethics statement: (5%)
  • Book review: Archaeogaming (10%)

Video Games as Linguistic Artefacts (Material Paratexts) (mid October – mid November)

Readings:

  • smth on Chaine Operatoire
  • A Geology of Media (Jussi Parikka)

Assignments:

  • Case study: Eternal Dagger (10%)

Video Games as Linguistic Artefacts (Digital Narratives) (mid November – mid December)

Reading:

  • The Phenomenology of Real and Virtual Places (Erik Malcolm Champion)

Assignments:

  • Book or article review (10%)

Conlangs in Games (January)

Readings:

  • Conlanging

Assignments:

  • Presentation: 30 minute presentation on conlangs in games (5%)

Video Game Translation (February)

Readings:

  • Game Localization: Translating for the Global Digital Entertainment Industry (Minako O’Hagan)

Assignments:

  • Case study: History of the Super Comboy (10%)

Summary (March – mid April)

Assignments:

  • Research paper: “How may or is the language of and in videogames studied archaeologically?” (20%)
  • Presentation: 1 hour presentation of research (10%)

Colour Palettization as Archaeogaming Method

Disclaimer: This post was written as part of my ANTH 320: Archaeologies of Gender requirements in Fall 2016. It has been in publication hell since then, but I’ve finally decided just to upload it here as I begin my archaeogaming thesis next month and will be needing to reference this essay as part of that. So. Here goes:


The academic study of video games is yet an emergent field, and the interdisciplinary field of archaeogaming ever more emergent still. As scholars become more convinced as to the validity of video games as an expressive medium, so to do they become convinced that video games exist as an expression of a society’s ideological mechanisms (Dill & Thill, 2007). In considering video games as a cultural artefact the question, “What can we use to come to a greater understanding of gender and/or the construction of gender in and from video games?” is something which requires refinement. Andrew Reinhardt, blogger at archaeogaming.com, has specifically isolated the construction of methodologies and tools as one of “archaeogaming’s grand challenges” (Reinhardt, 2015), and in considering this I have constructed a possible methodology which has applications for the archaeogaming of gender. It is my contention that with regard to gender the analysis of colour palettes has a great amount of potential to influence archaeogaming methodology when such graphical output is considered to be a component of the video game as artefact.

Current methods for discerning gender as an end-product, or object, of ideological mechanism in video games tend to focus on whether or not women are identifiable as characters within a game and subsequently whether or not their depiction may be perceived as positive in some capacity (ex. Dill & Thill, 2007; Reinhardt, 2016). While such “looking for women” approaches are effective in their own right (Conkey & Gero, 1997, p. 415), there does not appear to be as much work done thus far by game theorists with regard to how characters are “coded” as women—or any gender for that matter—in order to be identified.

Proposal

In constructing an analysis of a video game one may use one or more colour palettization tools to create a data set by which an analysis of gender through colour theory may be undertaken. In considering the video game as artefact this is to be done with consideration to the full operational context of the video game. Additionally a consideration of some of the concerns which may arise with the use of such a method must be undertaken.

Methodological framework


How are ideological functions/effects in games expressed? With regard to colour as representative of categorization of something such as gender “[c]lassification is achieved because colour functions as a marker of social identity” (Koller, 2008, p. 397). “Colour codes” may thus be considered to function as a method by which social groups may demonstrate themselves (Koller, 2008, p. 397). With a near-infinite range of visible colours presently capable of display with contemporary computers and screen technologies the isolation of colour as an area of intentional effect within video games is ideal. Colour choices are rarely now considered with relation to the graphic capabilities of hardware, and more within our current video game moment than ever are colour theories capable of being applied to the discerning of ideological effects (ex. gender, emotion, etc) (Geslin, Jégou & Beaudoin, 2016). Within a Western context, for example, the colour pink is now often associated with women and feminity (Koller, 2008). Princess Peach exists as one of perhaps the pinkest characters in video games, and has done so for a number of years. In analyzing the character’s first (and presently only) solo game “Super Princess Peach” (see fig. 1) the colour pink is obviously predominant, however as is the colour blue. The shade and tone of blue chosen is what provides the “social communication” of the colour palette (Geslin, Jégou & Beaudoin, 2016, pp. 8), and the use of such a blue in relation to pink may still communicate femininity via association (Koller, 2008, pp. 399).

 

Super-princess-peach
Figure 1. Cover of “Super Princess Peach” for the Nintendo DS. Cover image added to the Mario Wikia by user Conker’s Bad Fur Day, 2011, Retrieved from http://mario.wikia.com/wiki/Super_Princess_Peach. Copyright Nintendo. Reprinted under fair use.

With regard to the above a full consideration of colour must include a consideration of hardware capability if one is to conduct an analysis of games through time. For an example of the importance of hardware in an analysis of colour consideration may be given to the Magnavox Odyssey. The Odyssey was one of the first platforms to require screen overlays for a number of games, including the game “Simon Says” (see fig. 2). While the computer hardware of the Odyssey itself displays only white blocks on a black background, the use of overlays expands the colours displayed to the player significantly. If one were to ignore the overlays as a necessary component of the game-hardware experience an accurate analysis of colour could not be undertaken.

DSCN0331
Figure 2. Image showing overlays for the Magnavox Odyssey game “Simon Says.” Image Retrieved from http://www.magnavox-odyssey.com/Simon%20says.htm. Reprinted under fair use.

In considering the graphical output of the game to be a component of a video game as artefact the lithic construction model of chain opératoire (herein: operational chain) may be turned to for insight (see fig. 3). The operational chain is defined by O. Bar-Yosef, et al. in “The Excavations in Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel” as “the different stages of tool production from the acquisition of raw material to the final abandonment of the desired and/or useful objects” (p. 511, 1992). While a complete explanation of the applications of the operational chain within archaeogaming is worthy of an essay in itself, for the purposes of this paper its use lies in being able to discreetly define the technological tradition of a video game in relation to both raw material procurement (or materiality) and use as a method of providing context for further colour analysis.

chain
Figure 3. A diagram demonstrating the operational sequence of a lithic tool. Diagram from Grace, Roger, 2014, Retrieved from http://rogergrace.macmate.me/SARC/study/chaineoperatoire.html. Copyright 2014 by Roger Grace. Reprinted under fair use.

In this scenario the technological tradition of graphical output of a video game may be considered as graphical output capability in relation to genre, which exists as a product of platform (ie. materiality) of the game (ie. play as use). Considering Final Fantasy X-2, for example: the technical tradition is 128bit, or 6th generation graphics; it is of the Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) genre; and saw original material release for the Sony Playstation 2. While this is all information game theorists already tend to include in their analysis as background data (ex. Consalvo & Dutton, 2006), by placing it within the model of an operational chain one is able to privilege analysis of a single specific component (ex. graphics) without losing the context of related components. This is especially important for the analysis of colour theory as not only are colour interpretations individualized based on culturally-bound ideological frames, but also based on genre-bound ideological frames.

Current programs

While current free-use palettizing tools are ideal for outputting colour palettes based on a percentage of colours used, their goal is to provide an aesthetically pleasing outcome (Color Palette Generator). This causes for there to be “highlight” colours often included in their output, which while aesthetically pleasing are not necessarily useful for analysis. Additionally, such tools limit the number of colours output in order to save on processing power. In considering figure 4 concerns surrounding the use of current free-use palettization tools are evident. Although the palette generated is aesthetically pleasing and obviously draws information from the image it does not provide an accurate sampling of the colours present in Yuna’s costume, either in number or range of colours output.

yuna 2
Figure 4. A concept image of the character Yuna in her gunner outfit from Final Fantasy X-2, originally released on the Sony Playstation 2. Next to Yuna is the colour palette output from http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/. Image of Yuna added to the Final Fantasy Wikia by user Monterossa, 2014, Retrieved from http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:FFX-2_Artwork_Yuna.png. Copyright Square Enix or employee. Adapted under fair use.

Considering the concerns defined above: using current free-use palettization tools for archaeogaming is still likely possible. In such a case the images for palettization should be trimmed so as to remove as much superfluous data (ex. background, whitespace, etc) as possible, and cropped for areas of interest (ex. “highlight” areas; items which are in contrast, bright metallics, etc). While this will result in several disjointed images being analyzed, this will still allow for some colour analysis to be undertaken (see fig. 5). While this process should account for areas of interest in the image, they cannot account for any transparency. As such it is my recommendation that image formats which allow for alpha-channels not be included for such an analysis.

FFX-2_Artwork_Yuna
Figure 5. A cropped concept image of the character Yuna in her gunner outfit from Final Fantasy X-2, originally released on the Sony Playstation 2. Next to the cropped image is the colour palette output from http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/. Original image of Yuna added to the Final Fantasy Wikia by user Monterossa, 2014, Retrieved from http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:FFX-2_Artwork_Yuna.png. Copyright Square Enix or employee. Adapted under fair use.

Future programs

Drawing from current palettization tools, a specific tool for archaeogaming research should still output a dataset based on the percentage of a colour used. However the key difference lies in the specificity which may be wanted or required for quantitative research. In my opinion such a tool would be best designed as a program which a researcher may pick colours which they wish to focus on, input an image, and the program then outputs a dataset showing how often that colour range appears in said image. This being said, in considering how a palettizer can or “should” be designed for archaeogaming further research as of yet needs to be done within the archaeogaming community.

A more social concern surrounds the relationships between members of some game development communities, academics, gamers, and those who are a combination therein. Historically game studies have focused on “lists” of games (ex. Nooney, 2013), and the narratological aspects of games or the ludological aspects of games (Malliet, 2007). Specifically, the considerations of narratological concepts or otherwise expressive outputs (ex. whether or not a game expresses a certain theme, etc) of games has popularly been the realm of video game journalists (ex. De Rochefort, 2016). While not a universal tension, since 2014 the “#Gamergate” movement has exposed distrust within video game communities (VanDerWerff, 2014). Much of this distrust stems from a fear of secrecy on the part of writers (and, honestly, much also stems from straight-up misogyny), but a solution may be found in some flavours of feminist archaeology which recommend complete transparency on the part of the archaeologist (ex. open-source publishing, publishing field notes, etc) (Conkey & Gero, 1997, pp. 429-431). While palettization may be a useful tool for many aspects of archaeogaming, and it is my personal belief that open-source publishing is an important aspect of future academia, if palettization is to be used to specifically discern gender expression in games it becomes especially important for results to be freely accessible in order to attempt at easing tensions between and within video game communities. While this does open authors up to vitriol, it also offers a greater opportunity for learning and is more in-line with “standard” contemporary anthropological and archaeological community-based practices.

Conclusion

As an interdisciplinary field archaeogaming has the potential to accumulate methodologies from a number of fields both within (ex. lithic analysis) and outside (ex. colour theory) of archaeology “proper.” As explained in this paper: colour theory specifically has great potential for application as archaeogaming method, specifically with regard to discerning gendered appearance. Although questions for analysis with regard to colour theory are wide-reaching, specifically with regard to gender these palettes may be used specifically to determine such things as: “Was colour used by designers to engender characters?”, “Do these colour choices have implications cross-culturally?”, “Have any colour choices been localized in order to ‘read better’ or ‘read differently’ cross-culturally?”, “Are characters allowed multiple costumes? What are the implications of each/certain costume palette with regard to how the character expresses gender?”, etc. Thus as a part of a larger analysis video game as artefact one may look to colour theory to inform their analysis on the construction of gender/gendered presentation of such things as characters or space.

 

Bibliography

Bar-Yosef, O., et al. (1992, January 12). The Excavations in Kebara Cave, Mt. Carmel [and Comments and Replies]. Current Anthropology, 33(5), 497-550. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2743915

Color Palette Generator. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2016, from
http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/

Conkey, M. W., & Gero, J. M. (1997). Programme to Practice: Gender and Feminism in Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 26(1), 411-437. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2952529

Consalvo, M., & Dutton, N. (2006, December). Game analysis: Developing a methodological toolkit for the qualitative study of games. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 6(1). Retrieved November 2, 2016, from http://gamestudies.org/0601/articles/consalvo_dutton

De Rochefort, S. (2016, November 4). Rimworld’s system for sexuality is both a work in progress, and fair game for discussion. Retrieved November 4, 2016, from http://www.polygon.com/2016/11/4/13529134/sexuality-in-rimworld

Dill, K., & Thill, K. (2007, December). Video Game Characters and the Socialization of Gender Roles: Young People’s Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions. Sex Roles, 57(11-12), 851-864. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9278-1

Geslin, E., Jégou, L., & Beaudoin, D. (2016). How Color Properties Can Be Used to Elicit Emotions in Video Games. International Journal of Computer Games Technology, 1-9. Retrieved November 13, 2016, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/5182768

Koller, V. (2008, November). ‘Not just a colour’: Pink as a gender and sexuality marker in visual communication. Visual Communication, 7(4), 395-423. doi:10.1177/1470357208096209

Malliet, S. (2007, August). Adapting the Principles of Ludology to the Method of Video Game Content Analysis. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 7(1). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from http://gamestudies.org/0701/articles/malliet

Nooney, L. (2013, December). A Pedestal, A Table, A Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in video game History. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, 13(2). Retrieved November 2, 2016, from http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/nooney

Reinhard, A. (2016, January 25). Archaeogaming’s Grand Challenges. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from https://archaeogaming.com/2016/01/25/archaeogamings-grand-challenges/

Reinhard, A. (2015, October 25). Archaeology in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from https://archaeogaming.com/2015/10/25/archaeology-in-tomb-raider-definitive-edition/

VanDerWerff, T. (2014, October 13). #Gamergate: Here’s why everybody in the video game world is fighting. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from
http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting

 

 

 

 

Book Review: “Bringing Our Languages Home: Language Revitalization for Families”

Disclaimer: This post was written as part of my ANTH 321: Language Revitalization requirements in Winter 2017.


The book which I am writing on is “Bringing Our Languages Home: Language Revitalization for Families.” This is an anthology edited “with a How-to Guide for Parents” by Leanne Hinton. Chapters are grouped by topic headings (ex. Part II: Learning from the Elders, Part V: Family Language-Learning Programs, etc), with each chapter is written by a different author. In choosing this topic for this book review I found myself reflecting on my own experience of dealing with the absolute slew of paperwork involved in language revitalization work (I was an office admin). When people are reduced to paper figures it becomes difficult to imagine the lived effects of something like language schooling. It is one thing to see how something exists through forms and paper—and as anthropologists looking into the recent past this is a skill I believe is necessary for us to acquire and hone—and entirely another to see how people take those experience which are reduced to boxes on paper and implement them into their lived experiences. As per the cover and introduction the intended audience for this book is parents interested in language revitalization. While this is an “academic book review” I thus would be remiss in not commenting as to whether or not “Bringing our Languages Home” has the possibility of being accessible and engaging for such communities of people in addition to academics (and the intersections of the two). In the introduction Hinton explains that the format of this anthology began with a thought: “’And who am I,’ [Hinton] thought, ‘who never braved raising a child to speak an endangered language, to write for people who might want to do this?’ […] [T]he simple answer […] dawned on me: why should I write this book at all? It was the families who had done it themselves who should write it” (Hinton 2013, ix). This allows the book to remain primarily within the first-person, giving spotlight to specific insights into the challenges and celebrations of “raising a child to speak an endangered language.”

The first of the three chapters which I will be focusing on is “Mohawk: Our Kanien’kéha Language,” written by Margaret and Theodore Peters. This chapter is arranged as a series of vignettes written by Margaret and Theodore Peters respectively. They parent their children together and have similar difficulties in getting their daughters to speak the language with not only one another and their brother but also themselves, in addition to having similar relationships to Kanien’kéha and cultural traditions (61-63). The split narration of this chapter supports a clarity of concept: while parents may work congruently to raise children, and may have uniform goals, how they come to those positions of labour and goals may differ greatly. In using the split narration Margaret and Theodore are not only able to express their difficulties and celebrations with regard to their children, but also with regard to one another. While it would be easy to say that language endangerment and revitalization are addressed in this chapter solely by virtue of the authors speaking to their personal experiences of language there are several spheres of influence which need to be addressed: the personal, the filial, and the educational. While other spheres of influence are hinted at in this chapter, it is these three which are most predominant in their call for attention. Margaret and Theodore both obviously have personal relationships to their language. This extends to their home life with their children, where their first two children (their daughters) were raised speaking English and it is only with their third child (their son) that they decide to speak the language in the home (62-65, 71-74). As the chapter progresses this moves into the realm of the educational, in that not only is Margaret a teacher in a language program, but she feels guilt over not being egalitarian in her treatment of her language teachings towards her daughters compared to her son: “I felt very ashamed. The parents at the Ahkwesáhsne Freedom School were paying me to teach their children to learn their inherent language, and here I had it and wasn’t teaching it to my own, except for our little experiment Nihahsennà:a” (66). While originally she and her husband excluded their daughters due to their seeming disinterest combined with the cost, as she is a language teacher herself she cannot reconcile her role as an educator of the language with her role as an English-speaking mother. As the maxim goes: “It’s always more complicated than that.”

The second chapter I will be focusing on is “Māori: My Language Story,” written by Hana O’Regan. This chapter is written as a single-person monologue by the author. O’Regan begins by detailing her journey in defining her Māori identity (through self-image) comparatively to how her children define their own Māori identities (through language): “I didn’t stop, back then, to consider that what I heard, as opposed to what I saw, might define my Māoriness in time” (82). O’Regan continues by speaking to her struggles in implementing language policy when parents are seemingly unwilling to speak Māori in the home, then in having children of her own discovering the difficulties herself—while it is one thing to speak the language with regard to social or academic interactions, it is wholly another to speak it with regard to children (ex songs, baby speak, etc) (88-89). O’Regan details her struggles with getting other parents to incorporate language protocols into their homes with the inclusion of commentary of her work with the “Kāi Tahu language strategic vision, Kotahi Mano Kāika—Kotahi Mani Wawata: A Thousand Homes—A Thousand Dreams. The goal was to have at least one thousand home-speaking te reo by the year 2025, and that would then be the realization of one thousand aspirations” (88). O’Regan comes to an understanding for the parents she once struggled to inspire for this program, as she herself struggles with implementing a consistent language protocol into her home. In implementing the “OPOL (one-parent, one-language) practice of bilingualism” (91) O’regan speaks to her challenges in maintaining a good record of single-language immersion. This said, she expresses anxiety and frustration in hearing her children grow up speak English due to their attendance at a bilingual English-Māori school (93). Although she notes that much of her anxiety is not wholly founded as her children speak to one another in Māori when they are alone, she comments to the personal effect such an anxiety has upon not only her as a mother but also as a language activist (96). The format of this chapter is very accessible and easy to understand. While O’Regan comments to systemic causes and outcomes of language endangerment and revitalization efforts, she is consistent in retaining a connection to how such systems effect her home life.

Lastly I will be focusing on “Irish: Belfast’s Neo-Gaeltacht,” written by Aodán Mac Póilin. To begin with a definition: “The word Gaeltacht, which originally meant something like ‘Gael-dom,’ has now become what could be described as a geo-linguistic term. It usually refers to those scattered areas—mainly in the west of Ireland—where the thread of linguistic continuity has never been broken, where the language has been passed on from one generation to the next for thousands of years” (143). Mac Póilin clearly situates himself outside of the original construction context of the Gaeltacht and neo-Gaeltacht, and instead posits a historicizing view. While providing information and context for these types of communities, Mac Póilin is careful to point out that little data is available for this type of revitalization effort, and that such community building efforts should rather be considered experiments as opposed to guides for other communities to follow (142-143). Mac Póilin keeps a consistent voice in describing the events which have led to the construction and maintenance of several neo-Gaeltacht. In providing personal anecdotes Mac Póilin also centers the use of such communities in actual practice. Describing his own summary as “a rather sketchy overview of a complex subject,” (162) it can be very easy to lose sight of the human agents Mac Póilin describes even as he is describing them. That being said in speaking to the contributions of specific families and family members there is a returning to form. In this chapter the most obvious innovation which is brought to the scholarship on language endangerment and revitalization is the historicization of the Gaeltacht. In providing a historical context for these language communities and contextualizing the labour/s involved in their creation and maintenance Mac Póilin is effective in providing reference for those with questions as to whether or not such efforts are valid (author’s note: They Are Valid).

In situating “Bringing our Languages Home” within our course discussions I find myself returning to a Thomas Hardy quote I hold pretty dear: “The art of observation (during travel, etc.) consists in this: the seeing of great things in little things, the whole in the part — even the infinitesimal part” (Sherman 1976, 346). Dr. Shulist has spoken before about how we may ask questions of people, and their answers may be unexpected. In fact, their answers may be long-winding stories on topics we cannot seem to connect back to our original question at all. Chapters speak to specific language interactions between parents and children, siblings, etc, and in “little” moments we, as readers, must remain vigilant to observe the “great” moments—the systemic implications of familial interactions. Thus while the chapters in “Bringing our Languages Home” hold the thread of language revitalization methods in home-based contexts, they are also personal narratives of family, community, and social life. I specifically chose “Part 3: Families and communities working together” as a set of chapters to focus on as I found that it touched most on the difficulty in finding the crux of filial relationships and otherwise-social relationships surrounding language endangerment. While this is obviously a thread which runs through the book as a whole, in these chapters specifically I found there to be more a focus on “soft” interactions between family members, or otherwise interactions which may (at first glance) to not be predicated by language endangerment or revitalization. These interactions are important to note in my estimation because they mark the basest levels of interaction people have in a language–it’s easy (author’s note: I’m being sarcastic) to create laws and systemic frameworks by which language revitalization may occur, but if no one is actually speaking the language then those efforts are for naught. While “talking about it” is often derided as a non-solution to a problem, the frustrations expressed by parents in these chapters and their subsequent methods for overcoming said frustrations is Action in that it shows other parents—in readers of this book—that their problems are shared amongst a larger community of language activists.