Strengthening Indigenous languages in the digital age

New publication!

Our article Strengthening Indigenous languages in the digital age: social media–supported learning in Sápmi is now published in Media International Australia and available in open access.  I was happy to collaborate with my Umeå colleagues Hanna Outakoski and Peter Steggo for this publication.

The article presents and discusses Sámi social media initiatives for strengthening languages. All Sámi languages are endangered, and the lack of resources for maintaining, promoting and teaching the languages has been underscored on several occasions by the European Council and the Sámi parliaments. Social media has become an arena where resources are created and shared, enabling communities of speakers to support each other and promote their languages. YouTube, blogs, Twitter and language learning applications are here discussed as public domains and community-grounded media. Based on a few examples and on our expertise as instructors within Sámi studies, we suggest strategies for developing long-lasting and innovative models for revitalizing threatened languages and cultures, and for counteracting language loss through social media. This contribution shares examples of innovative uses of social media in Sámi of relevance for other Indigenous contexts.



Perspectives on Indigenous writing and literacies

Upcoming book! In January, our edited volume Perspectives on Indigenous writing and literacies will (finally) be out, published by Brill in their series Studies in Writing. From the publisher’s website:


Exploring Indigenous writing and literacies across five continents, this volume celebrates the resilience of Indigenous languages. This book makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the contemporary challenges facing Indigenous writing and literacies and argues that innovative and creative ideas can create a hopeful future for Indigenous writing. Contributions following the themes ‘Sketching the Context’, ‘Enhancing Writing’, and ‘Creating the Future’ are concluded with two reflective chapters evidencing the importance of volume’s thesis for the future of Indigenous writing and literacies. This volume encourages the development of research in this area, specifically inviting the international writing research community to engage with Indigenous peoples and support research on the nexus of Indigenous writing, literacies and education.



Here is a first glimpse at the contents:

1 Indigenous Writing and Literacies: Perspectives from Five Continents

Coppélie Cocq and Kirk P.H. Sullivan

Part 1 Sketching the Context

2 “I’ve Admired Them for Doing so Well”: Where to Now for IndigenousLanguages and Literacies?

Nathan John Albury

3 Indigenous Education: Affirming Indigenous Knowledges and Languages from a Turtle Island Indigenous Scholar’s Perspective: Pikiskēwinan (Let Us Voice)

Laara Fitznor

4 Literacy Proficiency among Students in Aotearoa-New Zealand: Why the Gap between Māori and Pākehā?

Dean Sutherland

Part 2 Enhancing Writing

5 Indigenous Storytelling and Language Learning: Digital Media as in text: as a Vehicle for Cultural Transmission and Language Acquisition

James Barrett and Coppélie Cocq

6 Enhancing Information Accessibility and Digital Literacy for Minorities Using Language Technology—the Example of Sámi and Other National Minority Languages in Sweden

Rickard Domeij, Ola Karlsson, Sjur Moshagen and Trond Trosterud

Part 3 Creating the Future

7 Teachers, Textbooks, and Orthographic Choices in Quechua: Bilingual Intercultural Education in Peru and Ecuador

Nancy H. Hornberger and Nicholas Limerick

8 Researching Writing Development to Support Language Maintenance and Revitalization Design and Methodological Challenges

Hanna Outakoski, Eva Lindgren, Asbjørg Westum and Kirk P.H. Sullivan

9 Indigenous Literacy in South Africa: an Argument for Psycholinguistically Responsive Teaching

Mark de Vos

Part 4 Reflections

10 A Coda and a Preface

Shelley Stagg Peterson

11 Education is Not Sufficient—Exploring Ways to Support and Research Indigenous Writing and Literacies

Kirk P.H. Sullivan, Virginia Langum and Coppélie Cocq

Rasism mot samer – en kartläggning

Under 2018 genomförs vid Vaartoe (Centrum för samisk forskning), en kartläggning om rasism mot samer i Sverige på uppdrag av Sametinget. Kartläggningen kommer att rapporteras under hösten, i form av en rapport och ett dialogseminarium.

Uppdraget genomförs av Tobias Poggats under ledning av Patrik Lantto och Per Axelsson vid Vaartoe. Tillsammans med Jon Petter Stoor ingår jag i arbetsgruppen som handledningsresurs.

Rasism mot samer i Sverige finns, som t.ex. Sameradions kampanj 2017 under ledning av journalisten Katarina Hällgren, kunde ge konkreta exempel på. Dock saknas det kunskaper om var, hur och när rasismen förekommer samt om dess konsekvenser. Kartläggningen som nu genomförs hoppas kunna bidra till bättre kunskap, föreslå åtgärder samt utgöra ett underlag för vidare undersökningar och forskning om rasism mot samer.



Poster: Linguistic Landscapes

Next week, I will participate to the conference on Digital Humanities “DH Benelux” in Amsterdam.

I will present a poster about our project on linguistic landscape (see here for an early presentation of the project). It develops slowly since we are still applying for fundings, but the DH Benelux conference will be a good opportunity to present and receive feedback and new input.

The Societal Dimensions of Sámi Research

The website for The Societal Dimension of Sámi Research together with Tromsø University is now up and will continue to be updated with research activities and publications. The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Within this project, I have the responsibility for a Work Package about “Nordic Media as a Field for Negotiating Scholarly Knowledge on the Sámi” that explores how knowledge, produced by scholars working with Sámi issues, is articulated, transformed or omitted through the channels of digital media. How do images and discourses in media affect researchers’ focus and results, and thus the professional and disseminated understandings of Sámi pasts and presents?

Beside this responsible for a work package, I will of course contribute with publications, participation to research activities and editor.

The Inheritance of the Digital

A new issue of the journal Cultural Analysis – for which I serve as guest editor – is now out. This special issue is concerned with timely topics in digital ethnology and folklore. I contributed also with an article about the negotiation of authority through digital use. It is available online in open access here.


Legend tradition on Facebook

New publication!

I have recently published an article about Easter legend tradition on Facebook, co-written with my colleague Fredrik Skott from the Institute for Language and Folklore.

The article discusses in what ways social media can be an arena for folk narratives and for research on traditional legends. It is in Swedish and published in Tidskrift för kulturforskning. But we have plans to publish a version in English…




Digital humaniora blinda fläck, eller, vad kan etnografi bidra med?

Mitt bidrag till antologin “Digital humaniora – humaniora i en digital tid” (Daidalos 2017) har nu publicerats. Jag skriver tillsammans med min kollega Anna Johansson om behovet av etnologiska och etiska perspektiv i forskning om och med digitala data. Texten bygger på min forskning om sociala medier med perspektiv från urfolksstudier. Boken finns tyvärr inte online men går att beställa här.


IMG_0913 copy


Indigenous dimensions of sustainability

The French Institute and Umeå University organize the French-Swedish Research Day 2017, focusing this year on Sustainable Development Goals (see JFSR 2017 prog final).

I have been invited as keynote speaker and my talk presents Indigenous dimensions of sustainability: toward sustainable solutions in the Arctic. 

detail program 10 nov copy



Mapping Multilingualism

This week, I was invited as a guest scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and gave a talk about my project about the linguistic landscape of Northern Sweden.

talk UW



My stay at UW-Madison is also the opportunity to do some work on my book project about Sámi media and to keep in touch with friends and colleagues in Madison, where I spent time as a PhD student in 2006 and 2007.