(Cowell, Andrew - 2009) -- ACLS Fellows (ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowships and ACLS/New York Public Library Fellowships)
Professor Cowell’s research began with a focus on the Middle Ages, especially in France, with a particular interest in the ways in which anthropological themes are represented in literary texts. More recently he has been examining some of the same issues in Native American traditional literature. He works with the Arapaho people to record the language that gave Colorado many of its well-known place names, such as Kawuneeche Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. Cowell published the first grammar of the Arapaho language, which complements his earlier collection of Arapaho texts. The Arapaho Language explains the roots and grammar of one of Colorado’s indigenous languages. The central component of his current project, “Documenting Arapaho Linguistic Culture,” is the creation of a video database of Arapaho conversation using linguistic software, which employs extensive linguistic and anthropological labeling and annotation. To complement this project, he will conduct ethnographic research on Arapaho language behavior. He will use the knowledge he gains to annotate entries in the database and to produce a more general book on Arapaho linguistic culture. This project, supported by the ACLS fellowship, will preserve for future generations one of America’s disappearing indigenous languages.