Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference

Keynote Speaker

Armin Schwegler

Dr. Armin Schwegler
Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
University of California, Irvine

Learn more about Dr. Schwegler here.

Title: Three different fields, one result:  Oral literature, historical linguistics, and population genetics (DNA) combine to reconstruct human origins

Abstract: Oral literature is typically not the first discipline that comes to mind when attempting to reconstruct human origins. As it turns out, however, it is precisely oral (ritual) “literature” that less than thirty years ago provided the initial clue in attempts to discover the precise sub-Saharan origins of (some) descendants of African slaves in the Americas.  This first finding then served as springboard for further historical linguistic investigation and, eventually comparative DNA-based inquiries (population genetics) that now serve as definitive proof for a direct linkage between specific Black Latin American population groups and their African ancestors (slave trade). This talk retraces how multidisciplinary research along these lines has progressed step-by-step to lead to the discovery of highly specific African roots.