Hei sann alle sammen! My name is Erin Pevan and I am one of the new CHI fellows for the 2016-2017 Academic Year. I’m a second year graduate student in Anthropology, currently working on finishing a Master’s degree before I delve head-on into the PhD. I’m a bit of anomaly in the department, a jack-of-all-trades kind of person, so my research and interests and experiences are diverse and expound. In addition to the CHI Fellowship, I am also a Bailey Scholars Program graduate fellow/convener and a TA in the department of Anthropology.
(That’s me this past summer in Norway, overlooking a beautiful lake in Telemark. Believe it or not, this was taken at about 10:00 pm)
My background is in medieval history and information technology, with degrees in both (bachelors and associates, respectively) and several years’ experience as an IT professional. My current focus for my graduate degree here at MSU is within the realm of linguistic anthropology, with quite a bit of sociocultural theory and methodology thrown in there as well. I examine and explore the ways in which national identity and national narratives are formed, and those markers that contribute to the formation of these identities and narratives. I also consider the nature of inclusivity and exclusivity in these identities and narratives, and how they are perceived on a broader, perhaps more international scale. One of the current factors that has garnered most of my attention relates to language and the ways in which language is used as a marker of an identity, or the ways in which language is used as a tool for identity. All of these interests are focused with in the geographic specialization of Scandinavia, particularly Norway. Norway is a country with a turbulent and rich linguistic history, even more so now with the influx of changes to language attitudes and identity within the last few years due to the increase in their immigrant population and the revitalization efforts of the indigenous population of Norway, the Sami. How do we create a homogeneous national identity out of a heterogeneous population? Can it be done? What role does language have in this? These are just a couple of the many questions I have about this topic.
However, owing to my love of too many topics, I also love exploring history, particularly historical ethnographies, and exploring societies not contemporary to our own. I’d be deceptive if I didn’t also mention something about my love for the early Middle Ages and the Viking Age, and hope in some way to incorporate that into my CHI project.
As my interests are very diverse and it’s still early on in the fellowship, I am still working on finalizing the type of digital project I want to produce for this fellowship. I have drawn inspiration from the rune stone databases created by Uppsala University or the map of Viking voyages created by the University of Copenhagen; I hope to continue drawing inspiration in order to create a project that is both informative and interactive, as something that can be continuously updated and added to.
The CHI Fellowship, I hope, will be the space where I can bring together my different diverse experiences in the humanities, social sciences, and information technology. Or, in other words, a space where I can finally put all of my experiences and learning to use.