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
On behalf of William Leap (American University), Co-editor, Journal of Language and Sexuality: The Journal of Language and Sexuality (www.benjamins.com/#catalog/journals/jls) is now in its fifth year of publication. JL&S explores the discursive formations of sexuality, including (but not limited to) sexual desire, sexual identities, sexual politics, and sexuality in diaspora. JL&S addresses linguistic work in the widest possible sense, e.g. sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, phonology, pragmatics, semantics, discourse analysis, applied linguistics, and any other mode of language-centered inquiry interrogating discourses of sexuality and their linguistic and social consequences. On a theoretical level, JL&S is indebted to Queer Linguistics as its major influence. Issue 4.1 of JL&S will soon be in print. We
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
Dear Linguistic Anthropologists, As your new Section Program Editor I regret that I am getting off to a fairly exciting start. There have been some changes to procedures and deadline about which I have only just become aware – I am using every means of communication to spread my belated awareness among you all. The Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) invites your submissions for the American Anthropological Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting, which will be held this year in Washington, D.C. December 3-7. This year’s theme is: “Producing Anthropology”. I am writing to encourage you to submit invited sessions, volunteered sessions,
Dear SLA Student Members, This year AES will be sponsoring four faculty-students workshops and one workshop for recent PhDs to provide an intimate environment for discussing issues important to AES as well as graduate students. These workshops may also be of interest to SLA student members who are equally encouraged to apply. AES is also happy to announce there will be subsidies available for graduate student workshop participants. AES will provide $160 for each workshop participant to cover the costs of one night in the conference hotel. These workshops include: Workshop 1: Methodological and Ethical Issues in Ethnographic Research on Conflict
Radio programs have recently celebrated a “new understanding” of the importance of preschool for success later in life. Related knowledge has been part of academic discussion for decades, but has had relatively little effect on how education is organized. To contribute to public understanding, I summarize Shirley Brice Heath’s “What no bedtime story means” (1982).
Dear Graduate Students, This year, the American Ethnological Society (AES) is sponsoring three faculty-students workshops to provide an intimate environment for discussing issues important to AES graduate students. The Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) has co-sponsored one of these workshops and I invite you to consider participating in what promises to be an excellent conversation. These workshops include: Workshop 1: Unbinding and Rebinding Theories in STS, Social Analysis, and Anthropology Faculty Facilitators: Sherine Hamdy (Brown U) and Stefan Helmreich (MIT) Workshop 2: Publishing in American Ethnologist Faculty Facilitators: Angelique Haugerud (Rutgers U), Catherine Besteman (Colby), and other members of the
The “Research Works Act”, H.R. 3699, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2011. The Association of American Publishers applauded the bill, but some scholarly publishers have expressed opposition. This post provides a brief summary of the bill and arguments in support and opposition.
A Fork in the Chinese Road: Educating Tibetans in Tibetan? Susan D. Blum December 23, 2011 Earlier this month a Tibetan monk set himself on fire. It was the twelfth incidence of Tibetan self-immolation by a monk or nun since March, according to unverified but plausible reports. These acts of desperation continue a long line of protests in China despite the Chinese government’s unyielding determination to keep Tibetans in line. What is called by protestors “cultural genocide” has many dimensions, not the least of which is language. When people’s religion, subsistence, and very language are attacked as unworthy, there are
From my University of Wyoming Colleague Paul Flesher. Comments on this piece and the languages of Channukah and other holidays most welcome! Happy holidays to you all, Leila UW Religion Today Column for Week of Dec. 18-24: Speaking Internationally: The Languages of Joseph, Mary and the Wise Men Share This Story: December 14, 2011 — By Paul V.M. Flesher The stories of Jesus’ birth are stories of travel. In the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph travel through the national territory, from Nazareth in Jewish Galilee to Bethlehem in Jewish Judea. In Matthew’s Gospel, the travel is international. The tale
The annual meeting in Montreal is less than a month away. Before you fill your dance cards completely, I wanted to let you know about the fine selection of student-focused panels the SLA and other sections have put together in continued attempts to make the large meetings fruitful for every stage of your anthropological trajectory. On behalf of the executive board, I am pleased to promote the invited panel “NEW VOICES IN ANTHROPOLOGY: THE SOCIETY OF LINGUISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY’S GRADUATE STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST” which will take place Saturday, November 19, 2011: 13:45-15:30. In lieu of our traditional single paper prize,
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
This piece does not reflect the official opinion of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, its officers or its individual members. The Linguistic Society of America’s “LSA Ethics Discussion Blog” has posted a draft Code of Ethics for Linguists in Forensic Linguistics Consulting. The authors seek comments on the draft policy, primarily from members of the LSA, that might guide their revisions. The blog is, however, public, so that anyone with interests and concerns about forensic linguistics or legal consulting may view and comment on the draft.
Recently some scholars in language acquisition and education have posted links on Facebook to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (henceforth CCFC), which is asking the US Federal Trade Commission to stop the company Your Baby Can Read (YBCR) from advertising its products. According to CCFC, YBCR sells a system that promises to teach babies to read by watching DVD videos and using flash cards. I should say that all I know about YBCR, apart from what is alleged in the CCFC complaint, is what I’ve seen in their television commercials; I’ve never used or evaluated their products. CCFC
As Mark Allen Peterson wrote in his post on “Developing Expertise,” we have been having a discussion about the importance of bringing anthropological knowledge to the social web. For this reason I called upon people who follow me on Twitter (@kerim) to bring their anthropological expertise to the new question-and-answer forum, Quora. While there are a lot of questions which could easily be answered by using Google or Wikipedia, there are a lot of good questions as well; questions which it would be good for anthropologists to answer. But after using the website for a while, trying to help out
The Chinese language phrase book I picked up in my first week in the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China, asserts in a blurb on the back cover that travelers to China experience “instant illiteracy” and certainly this was a significant aspect of my first extended stay in that country. I have never before visited a place where I not only did not speak the language but also could not even sound out and guess at the meaning of signs, menus, ads in hotel rooms and the like. I was painfully aware of my dependence
According to an article in the New York Times, American Sign Language is now the fourth most-studied language among US college and university students. While enrollment in foreign-language courses generally has held steady or increased only modestly, enrollment in ASL courses increased more than sixteen percent between 2006 and 2009. Instructor Amy Ruth McGraw suggests that students may switch to ASL after struggling to learn other languages. But if the cause of their difficulty “was memorizing vocabulary and grammar,” McGraw points out, “this isn’t going to be any better.” For information on academic research of American Sign Language since the