Spanish professor wins two-year NSF grant

Holly Cashman

Holly Cashman, Assistant Professor of Spanish, has been awarded a two-year National Science Foundation grant to undertake fieldwork in Phoenix, Arizona, in the area of language dominance, maintenance, and shift. The project uses discourse and conversation analysis to examine the construction of identity of U.S. Latina/o gays and lesbians who have grown up in the Southwestern U.S. at the intersection of the Anglo, English-monolingual LGBT community and the heterosexual, Spanish/English bilingual Latina/o community. Cashman expects her research to answer the following questions:  How do gay and lesbian Latinas/os see the relationship between their ethnic identity and sexual orientation? What role do language practices (specifically the maintenance of Spanish and/or shift to English) play? How do community members maintain and display, construct and negotiate Latina/o and gay and lesbian identities in interaction? The project breaks new ground in the way it destabilizes the dominant narrative on language maintenance and shift, much of which relies on a heterosexual family-based model of language transmission.

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