Language diversity and prehistory (A workshop adjacent to ALT)


Monday, 19 August, 2013

Venue: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Organizers: Søren Wichmann and Willem Adelaar

Invited speakers:
    Chiara Barbieri (MPI-EVA)
    Mark Donohue (ANU)
    Alex Geurds (Leiden University)
    Johanna Nichols (UC-Berkeley)

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss how the use of linguistic data may shed light on prehistory and to continue a still relatively new dialogue with genetics and archaeology. A central concern is to avoid fitting findings from one discipline to that of another and then concluding, circularly, that a given scenario is supported by two different disciplines. Instead, we need to evaluate evidence "from inside" each discipline, and when we try to compare results we should not only look out for matching results but also expect and try to understand discrepancies. The invited speakers not only include interdisciplinarily oriented linguists (Donohue, Nichols), but also an archaeologist (Geurdts) and a geneticist (Barbieri).

The workshop is organized under the auspices of the ERC project "The linguistic past of Mesoamerica and the Andes: A search for early migratory relations between North and South America", and some of the invited talks will address the prehistory of the Americas. Nevertheless, papers do not have to focus on this particular geographical area.

We welcome submissions of abstracts (around 1/2 page, single-spaced, 12 pt) on the general topic of the workshop.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: May 1, 2013; notification of acceptance: May 15, 2013.


Søren Wichmann
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Linguistics
Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Email: wichmann [at]
Workshop webpage