Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our September Author: Dan Everett (Don't Sleep, There are Snakes)

Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (Vintage Departures)This month's author, Dan Everett (Don't Sleep, There are Snakes) has his own webpage at Illinois State University, (although a note there says he has taken a position elsewhere, so the page could vanish at any moment). He does have quite a bit there to explore. This section is a good place to start. My favorite file is this song.

Here is a bit of spoken Pirahã:

As a supplement to the book, I highly recommend this New Yorker profile: The Interpreter. It will give you some idea of how others in the field of linguistics view his work. If you don't have the time for that, try this NPR profile which also contains a nice demonstration of whistle and hum speech or this Guardian profile which includes a couple sound files as well. The hardcore language buffs among our Esteemed Readers will want to check out this article and Daniel Everett/Steven Pinker exchange.

Here's a talk for courtesy of Fora.TV:

There is a documentary about Everett, it seems with no release date as yet. More info and trailer can be found here.

The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the AmazonOther fun stuff:

Further reading--

The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon. Interview with author Monte Reel here.

Recent NYT article, Does Your Language Shape How You Think? by Guy Deutscher author of the new book Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages.

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages

Explore the National Geographic map of endangered languages.

More on indigenous peoples: Survival International and Cultural Survival.

Recent Amnesty International press release: Peru: Missionary defending Amazon tribes must not be deported

Updated: Fresh action today from Amnesty International:

80 members of the Guarani Kaiowá Y’poí Indigenous group in Brazil have been threatened by armed men hired by local farm owners. The group reoccupied farmland they claim as part of their ancestral territory near Paranhos, Brazil, in April. They have been threatened and being prevented from leaving their encampment. This has left them in a critical situation with no access to water, food, education and health.

The Federal Indigenous Health Agency (FUNASA) has not provided care to the community allegedly claiming this is due to lack of security. The community’s children are falling sick due to the lack of medical assistance, water and the dry weather conditions. The community has denounced their situation, but so far no action has been taken.

More info. Take action here.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

For November: The Blessing Next to the Wound by Hector Aristizabal

The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and TransformationFor November, we have selected The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation by our good friend and collaborator Hector Aristizabal:
Hector Aristizabal grew up in the barrios of Medellin, Colombia, where he and his siblings had to use all their wit, wiles, and wherewithal to survive poverty, the ever-present allure of cheap drugs and very dangerous money, and the endemic violence from leftwing guerrillas, rightwing death squads, cocaine cartels, and the armed power of the State. As a young actor and psychology student, Hector was seized by the military, held in secret, and tortured. He survived and went on to find meaning in his ordeal as he channeled his desire for revenge into nonviolent activism both in his homeland and during decades of exile in the United States.

While challenging the State-sponsored causes of much suffering in the world, Hector reached out to some of society s most marginalized at-risk and incarcerated youth, immigrants, and many others using his theatrical skills and psychotherapeutic training to help people shape their own stories and identities. He sought to understand his own identity as well as that of one brother who was a revolutionary and another who was gay and how his belief in personal integrity and political freedom might square with the realities of a country under the yoke of toxic ideologies. Hector was forced finally to examine his own motivations and commitments, and begin to heal his own gaping wounds.

Shockingly honest, heartbreaking, and vibrantly told, The Blessing Next to the Wound is a passionate and evocative memoir that, amid enormous suffering and loss, is a full-throated affirmation of life.
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