hat`s in a Name?

What’s in A Name?
Examining the personal in order to
explore global learning
Dr. Sarah Quick, GLI conference at Winthrop
U Sept. 17, 2011
The following slides detail a HMXP group discussion exercise
where students think about and discuss their names and
nicknames. The later slides are meant to be suggestive (not
definitive) for additional exploration.
The final slide is shamelessly advertising a Short Term Study
Abroad Course
Exercise beginnings: “What’s in a Name”
How we are individually named is interesting to consider crossculturally. Instances of naming may occur at different periods
in a person's life depending on the culture, and how names
are used in everyday practice varies as well. More general
terms of address or titles, kin terms, or even nicknames are
commonly used in everyday interactions, and proper names
may only be spoken on special occasions
NOTE your own experiences (and answer the following
questions) for our later discussion:
What do you think motivated your parents with your chosen
name? Did this choice influence your sense of self? Consider
what others call you in different settings and situations: how
(and why) do these terms/names vary? Do you have other
names/nicknames that you like, dislike, or are ambivalent
What may a person’s name tell you?
Do you identify ‘the culture’ or even another
kind of community a person comes from by their
name? How?
Is this profiling, especially when certain names
may carry stigmas?
What are some examples of names that may
carry negative connotations?
Name issues related to HMXP readings
(others likely could be added)
Consider Cisneros’ poem “My Name” with our
recent discussions in mind. Why do you think
this character has ambivalence for her name,
Sojourner Truth’s name and personal history;
also bell hooks
Some more variations in naming traditions?
Chinese, Korean, Japanese?
Generally, surnames come first and no middle names; but
other distinct naming traditions followed within each
country (and by diverse cultures within)
From general anthropology textbook (Haviland et al.):
Aymara Indians in Bolivia: naming ceremony once children
speaking language (around 2), until then not seen as fully
Hopi: traditionally several names in a lifetime (at 20th day, age
6, adulthood, death);
Netsilik Inuit: names of deceased relatives shouted out during
labor, when baby arrived that name chosen (and baby’s
identity seen as being shaped by that particular relative)
Name Signs in U.S. deaf community….
From Through Deaf Eyes transcript (pbs documentary)
CAROLYN McCASKILL: “When I got to the campus of the Alabama
school for the deaf I didn’t have a name sign yet. And after thinking
about it for awhile and this is pretty typical of deaf people, they look
to see what you’re character is, how you behave, a personality trait
and then they give you a name sign that sort of ties into that
particular trait that’s unique to you. Well, after time went by my
friend said, “I got it. I know the way you swivel your hips when you
walk and so we’re going to give you this name sign.” So it went from
my elbow down to my hip. I didn’t know I had that little bit of a
swivel of a hip, I thought I walked like everyone else but that name
sign was given and it’s stuck ever since.”
One succinct definition of name signs
Also: debate over ASL teachers giving name signs to those outside or
new to deaf community. Youtube vlog
Names Changes: oppression
concession, resistance and choice
Boarding/Mission/Residential Schools and “census names” for
Native peoples in North America
Colonial situations elsewhere (but locals’ names for colonizers
also can be a form of resistance, see Likaka’s study for
examples in the Congo)
Immigrants and Paper Names in U.S.
Métis fiddler Andy DeJarlis (née Desjarlais)
Nation of Islam (Muhammad Ali)
Public figures, Celebrities and Rappers
ABOVE on a continuum of forced name changes to name
changes based on an individual’s personal/professional
choices. More context required for each, and if sources on
next slide are not enough, feel free to contact me at
[email protected]
Sources and Additional Resources
Haviland, Prins, Walrath, and McBride. 2011 Anthropology: the Human Challenge, 13th ed. Wadsworth,
Cengage Learning, pp. 398-401.
Likaka, Osumaka. 2009. Naming Colonialism: History and Collective Memory in the Congo, 1870-1960
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Link to H-Net review.
Louie, Emma Woo.1998. Chinese American names: tradition and transition. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and
Co., Inc. (info on paper names, pp. 113-16). Amazon link.
On Lakota historical and contemporary naming practices:
Severt Young Bear and R.D. Theisz. 1994 “Names Tell Stories.” In Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of
Seeing. Lincoln: U of Nebraska Press, pp. 2-13. Amazon link.
Two specific sources referencing name changes (p. 3 on the pdf file, also NPR program) at boarding schools
for American Indians; also a general account of boarding schools and residential schools (Canada)
Andy DeJarlis entry in the online Encyclopedia of Canadian Music, originally written by Richard Green for
print edition: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=U1SEC887781
Website compilation of popular names/naming practices from around the world (although section on Native
Americans oversimplified and stereotypical): http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/useofnames.html#POU
taking ANTH 341/350 Fieldwork in Cultural
Anthropology: Tourism, Travel and
Pilgrimage in Alberta
JULY 5: Calgary arrival
JULY 6: Attend
Stampede opening
parade; visit Glenbow
Museum and Archives
JULY 7-12: Calgary
Stampede events
JULY 13: Optional trip to
UNESCO World Heritage
site, Head-Smashed-inBuffalo-Jump Interpretive
JULY 15-26: Edmonton
stay: U of Alberta
campus and travel to Lac
Ste. Anne Pilgrimage for
fieldwork 3-4 days
JULY 27-28: travel back
to Calgary via Jasper and
JULY 29: Fly home
During our study in Alberta, Canada, a place known for
its spectacular landscapes and cowboy culture, we will
visit designated tourist sites (national parks and
museums). However, we will focus on two contrasting
events—The Calgary Stampede, a giant spectacle of “The
West,” and the Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage, an event where
Native peoples gather for spiritual and social renewal. For
each site we encounter, we will observe, participate in,
document, and analyze the reasons why certain folks are
drawn to them. As a class, we will become familiar with
several methods of ethnographic data collection while
exploring the anthropology of travel. Our course will last
six weeks: the first two and last weeks are online, the next
three and a bit are in Canada, the remaining is online.
WINTHROP STUDENTS will be able to obtain at least 5
cultural events!!
2012 Calgary Stampede Poster
COSTS: Tuition + $3,150: $3,150 includes airfare,
lodging, transportation in Alberta, some event fees, and a
per diem for meals (some shared)
Image from JasonFrason.com
fieldwork as a cultural anthropologist
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Dr. Sarah Quick at [email protected] or her cell # 803-309-9107

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