Dr. Margaret Bender

Associate Professor

Cultural/Linguistic Anthropology

Office: 119 Piccolo Building

Phone: 336.758.5326

Email: benderm@nullwfu.edu

Dr. Margaret Bender, Associate Professor Anthropology Department in Chile

Margaret Bender (Ph.D., University of Chicago). Margaret Bender received her A.B. degree in English from Cornell University, her A.M. in the social sciences from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in Anthropology also from the University of Chicago. Bender believes strongly that the study of language is essential to our understanding of cultures, persons, and events. She has studied the relationship between language and culture in a variety of contexts—from political rhetoric in Iran to family literacy education in Chicago. Most of her work, however, has centered around the Cherokee language and been based in North Carolina’s Eastern Cherokee community. Focal areas have included literacy, language ideologies, linguistic sovereignty, and language revitalization. Bender is currently involved in two major research projects. The first is a book project in which she is studying changes in Cherokee sacred language between 1800 and the early 20th century. The second is funded by 2014 Pilot Research Grant from Wake Forest University: Testing the Impact on Student Learning of the Introduction of Indigenous Language Texts to Cherokee Language Immersion Classrooms: A Pilot Study. Bender has worked with authors and artists to develop two new Cherokee language texts to be used in language immersion education in the coming academic year. This project is designed to test two hypotheses: 1) that the introduction of indigenous texts will lead to student acquisition of language-specific grammatical and stylistic structures that would otherwise not be acquired by students at the school; 2) that the introduction of indigenous texts will lead to greater Cherokee cultural knowledge and appreciation. She is currently working on the questions that will accompany each text enabling the testing of the two hypotheses.

Bender’s broader interests in scholarship and teaching include linguistic and educational anthropology, Native American cultures and languages, and anthropological theory.  She teaches in Wake Forest’s Linguistics Program and cross-lists her course, Language and Gender, with Women’s and Gender Studies.

Dr. Bender leads a camping trip with students each year at the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, NC for the Annual Cherokee Indian Fair in October.
If interested, email Dr. Bender for details.

View pictures from the 2008-2010 trips.