The annual business meeting of the SLA in Washington DC was attended by about 150 people, and proved to be a lively and informative event. President Paul Kroskrity reported on two areas of general concern: increasing public engagement around issues of linguistic racism and the mentoring of junior colleagues within SLA itself. Paul reported on the results of a mentorship survey, which indicate willingness among members to serve as mentors. However, because the survey does not provide a good basis for moving forward, we are waiting for AAA-wide initiatives that will provide both models and resources for future planning. Finally,
AN News: “At the Crossroads of Linguistics and Anthropology: Disciplinary perspectives on language documentation” by Lise Dobrin (University of Virginia) and Niko Besnier (University of Amsterdam)
Anthropology News Article by Lise Dobrin and Niko Besnier For a long time in anthropology, the documentation of languages on the brink of disappearing was negatively tainted as salvage: quaint in its Boasian particularism, inappropriately objectifying speakers as passive vehicles of an authoritatively rendered ‘tradition’, naïve in uncritically adopting the folk category of ‘language’ as an analytic one, and irrelevant to a discipline that is concerned with linguistic practices and ideologies primarily as a form of evidence for claims about other areas of social life. But over the past couple of decades, a major transition has taken place in linguistics
AN News: “Silent Meditation: Speech, power, and social justice” by the Committee on Language & Social Justice
Anthropology News Article by Netta Avineri, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey; Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, Independent Scholar; Robin Conley, Marshall University; Mariam Durrani, University of Pennsylvania; Kathleen Riley, Fordham University The AAA Committee for Human Rights Task Group/Society for Linguistic Anthropology Committee on Language & Social Justice is committed to collaborating with one another to provide a unique, linguistic anthropological perspective on relevant issues of the day. We believe that a merging of voices allows for greater depth of reflection, listening, and revision. In this way our process in the Task Group is symbolic of our greater ideals – a
AN News: “Digital Counterpublics: Black Twitter in the Aftermath of Ferguson” by Mariam Durrani (University of Pennsylvania)
Anthropology News Article On November 24, 2014, St Louis prosecutor McCulloch announced that the grand jury trial did not indict Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. As the news media reports and subsequent protests unfolded, the Twittersphere erupted in thousands of tweets condemning the non-indictment, especially given his self-confessed shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old. These tweets are constitutive of a digital Black counterpublic that provides a strong opposition to mainstream media reporting and analysis. In the days that followed, online commentators critiqued the mainstream media coverage of Ferguson, the non-indictment, and other shootings of unarmed black men
The latest SLA column at Anthropology News is now available. Shunsuke Nozawa’s “Contact and Its Allure” explores phatic communion, isolation and social relations, the role of technology, and more in Japan’s “It’s me” fraud. Nozawa draws on his own field work, Japanese media coverage, and a range theory in anthropology to analyze how fraud is experienced and understood in contemporary Japan.
The latest Anthropology News features an article from Bonnie Urciuoli entitled, “Language and Social Justice Committee Activities, 2013-14.” You can access the article on the Anthropology News website by clicking here, or by copying and pasting this link into your web browser: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/06/25/language-and-social-justice-committee-activities-2013-14/
New SLA Column in Anthropology News: “The Lavender Languages Conference Turns 21” by William L. Leap
Visit the Anthropology News website to read the latest from the Society for Linguistic Anthropology http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/02/03/the-lavender-languages-conference-turns-21/
LANGUAGE AND CULTURE The Verbal Artistry of Julius Malema From the Anthro News Blog Language and Culture Column. Guest Columnist Steven P. Black Steven P. Black, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University In November of 2011, political youth leader Julius Malema was suspended from the ruling party of South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC, once a primary force of organized resistance to the racist and oppressive governance known as Apartheid, refashioned itself with the guidance of Nelson Mandela into a party for non-racial government. Though the ANC is officially committed to non-racial democracy, not all of the party’s
Language and Culture (Anthro News Blog) I am delighted to announce the launch of the Language and Culture column on the Anthropology News blog. Jacqueline Messing, Richard Senghas and I will be sharing editorial duties for the blog for the coming year. My first act as co-editor was to ask Ronald Kephardt for an update on Ebonics and am really pleased he agreed to participate. His column is below. The original piece on the blog is at: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2011/09/22/for-ebonics-the-new-milennium-is-pretty-much-like-the-old-one-draft Do drop by and leave a comment or give the piece some stars! All readers of this blog are also invited to think
SLA Column for May 2011 Mark Allen Peterson and James Stanlaw Linguistic Moments in the Movies, Part VII By Mark Allen Peterson (Miami U) It’s time for our annual roundup of films and film clips suitable for initiating discussions about language—or just a good laugh at the way the media industry represents language. The Gods Must be Crazy (1981) I went to this film when it first opened in Los Angeles almost thirty years ago, and I loved it. I felt rather guilty a few years later (in 1985), when I read the brilliant review in American Anthropologist by Toby
By Mark Allen Peterson (MiamiU) Journalist Alix Spiegel’s feature story “When Did We Become Mentally Modern?” on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered in August 2010 raised a wide-ranging discussion on the Linganth listserv about the expertise of linguistic anthropologists. While a well-intentioned effort, its descriptions of language and semiotics were… simplistic—to be generous. The story claimed human language was “entirely composed of these arbitrary symbols”—even when many of the examples used were non-arbitrary indexes. Spiegel did interview an anthropologist—Dr. Allison S. Brooks of George Washington University, a respected paleoanthropologist who often contributes to debates on when homo sapiens originated.