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Hi and welcome to my profile! I am a folklorist/anthropologist who combines linguistic anthropology, cognitive poetics, and folklore methods to research the ongoing significance of proverbs, folktales, and other forms of oral traditions in contemporary Kazakh society. I enjoy opportunities to both teach and research in my areas of specialization and in anthropology more generally.
February 2018 - present
- Affiliate Faculty
- I have developed a new introductory anthropology course with an emphasis on use of ethnographic methods. I also mentor graduate students.
July 2017 - present
- Coordinator of Global Initiatives
- Promote a new certificate program in the School of Intercultural Studies. Coordinate with existing programs. Explore opportunities for offering training and courses to partner organizations. Work on metrics and reporting for the program.
Western countries consider proverbs as insignificant, but Kazakhstan views their proverbs as an integral part of their societal revitalization efforts. For Kazakhs, proverbs are the traditional resource for defining problems, making moral judgments and suggesting remedies (Tabıldıyev, Qazaq Etnopedagogıykacı [Kazakh ethnopedagogy], 2001). As a resu...
There has always been an interest in how to interpret metaphorical proverbs. Recent research in cognitive science can be utilized to effectively diagram proverb meaning, especially defining the base meaning and evaluating the proverb meaning as incorporated into a larger context such as a story (i.e. blended meaning). In this article Gilles Fauconn...
This a newly approved research project summary. With funding from Nazarbayev University, we will research the discourse ecologies of Kazakh proverbs in contemporary Kazakhstan.
This paper is a response to a paper by Heidi Campbell on anti-religious memes. In my presentation, I compare and contrast meme performance to proverb performance. I go on to present a discourse modes explanation to how memes work. I conclude with remarks about how to effectively counter anti-religious memes.
In the U.S., proverbs are not a big part of life. When the preeminent proverb scholar in the West wrote about our most recent oratorically-skilled president, Barack Obama, he had to admit that candidate Obama used proverbial phrases and not even true proverbs 1. The main purveyor of proverbs in the U.S. are advertising companies. When someone asks...
Though of the same genre, two comparable proverbs from a given culture can operate in two distinct communicative spheres. Using an approach called discourse ecology, I explore the intertextual dynamics, semantics, and usage of two Kazakh proverbial calls to action. I consider the meaning and cultural background for each proverb. Based on searches o...
In Love Stories, Paul Manning effectively explores the distinctive traditional sexual life ways of the Khevsurs, a group living in the mountains of the country of Georgia. Their traditions could have easily been lost after their forced resettlement by Stalin in 1952, but their love poetry and the literature it inspired have kept the Khevsurs in the...
Why was the position "Black Lives Matter" (BLM) countered with "All Lives Matter" (ALM)?I explore this issue using a new approach that I call discourse modalities. Effective types of communication engage three discourse modalities: proposition, story, and wisdom. We find the combination in such diverse items as folktales, advertisements, and speech...
The government of Kazakhstan places a high value on Kazakh oral tradition as a resource for societal restoration. At the same time, there has been a resurgence of Islam in the country and the on-going process of defining a form of Islam that is Kazakh. Asıl Arna, the state approved Islamic governing body’s media company, posted a video on YouTube t...
The author set up a Facebook page to garner feedback from Kazakhs on his article concerning the appropriation of a Kazakh trickster tale. The Facebook page facilitated organizing focus groups, sharing drafts of the research, and could aid follow up to the group sessions. He argues that the in person focus groups had substantial narrative develop wh...
Martin Frederiksen has crafted a profound book combining perceptive ethnographic research, thoughtful thematic organization, and substantial discussions of theory. He does this by focusing on unemployed and underemployed young men, ages eighteen to twenty-five, living in the city of Batumi in the Ajara region of the former Soviet state of Georgia....
Neal Norrick presents the interface of tradition and individual agency in proverb performance as a paradox, a rhetorical recusation in which the proverb initiator fades into the background of societal opinion while gaining the upper hand (1994). I will argue that we don't need to leave ourselves in the place of paradox, but can attain clarification...
Four hundred years ago Kazibek Bi coined an aphorism to describe the Kazakhs as a meek people in the face of the Zünghars: “Qazaq degen mal baqqan elmiz...” [kazakhs, we are herders of cattle]. Over the centuries it has served as a seminal and serviceable description. Currently, it is being posited and challenged on numerous Kazakh webpages.
This edited book is the fourth volume put out by the Rhetoric Culture Project, an organization that formed in 2002 with the purpose of exploring how rhetoric and culture are mutually constituitive. Their aim in this volume is to ground language and culture in human experience with attention to process, power, and persuasion. The editors divide the...
In this report, I will share about my dissertation research concerning Kazakh proverbs that I carried out at the Kazakh National Technical University (KNTU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan in the fall of 2010. The goal was to explore language ideologies (Kroskrity 2010) concerning “community” that the students expressed through their use of familiar Kazakh p...
This is an article accepted for publication in the Journal Folklore and published on April 4, 2014: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/.VCTUoEttu-0
AlexandreDuchêne & MonicaHeller (eds.), Language in late capitalism: Pride and profit. New York: Routledge, 2012. Pp. iv, 269. Hb. $108.29. - Volume 43 Issue 1 - Erik Aasland
Researchers have explored the relationship between proverbs and various religious texts, but have given scant attention to the question of how theological understanding can affect proverb interpretation. In this paper, I explore instances when theological dissonance inhibits Kazakhs from recognizing the hyperbolic aspects in Kazakh proverbs both in...
From a set of proverbs in current use by a societal subgroup of Kazakhs, I investigate how these are brought into play to enact tradition and address daily situations. Language ideologies within the societal subgroup and the wider society can then be explored.
Past attempts at using proverbs for cultural analysis have provided questionable results. There has been an overreliance on comparable proverbs from other cultures (Mieder 1981) or the search for “underlying” static cultural traits (Bartlotti 2000). The current paper explores the potential of using frame analysis (Goffman 1974; Johnston 2002; Snow...
In the last forty plus years, proverb research has explored proverbs as traditional ("the voice of others") and as a means for the proverb initiator to gain dominance in dialogue. Neal Norrick presents these two aspects of proverb performance as a paradox with the proverb initiator fading into the background of societal opinion while gaining the up...
I teach a course on qualitative and quantitative research methods for graduate students. I would like to add something for Delphi method. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
I am designing a new class which will include instruction on use of QDA software. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I would like to take a look at some else's wheels.
I am designing a doctoral seminar on qualitative research coding, data analysis, and presentation. I am always interested to compare reading lists, objectives, and assignments.
I am designing a doctoral seminar on doing data analysis of ethnographic, social science research. As part of the course, I want to introduce students to a specific software program for aiding in their data analysis.
I have done a blog post and conference presentations on this topic of the interface of proposition, story, and wisdom. I am currently working on a book proposal and article under this project.
Agar (1985) and Shoaps (2009) each explore the contrasts between more public scripted behaviors and an alternative, more private communicative option. In Aasland (2018), I applied the theory to an analysis of Kazakh proverbs. This research was also significant in the use of ethnographic methods and corpus linguistics in tandem. Nazarbayev University funded a three year project to explore the discourse ecologies of Kazakh proverbs in contemporary use. Two Kazakhstani colleagues and I will be carrying out this project.