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Digital Content Editor self-introduction

As SLA’s new Digital Content Editor I’d like to take this opportunity to say a bit about myself, my work, and my ideas for digital content at SLA — just a little later than promised.

I am an adjunct associate professor in the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Nagoya University, Japan. My work can be divided into two major themes: issues of ideology and identity in multilingual settings, and studies of the language of large- and small-scale political interactions, including language and political economy. My dissertation, completed at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009, is an ethnographic study of Hippo Family Club, a language-learning club in Japan and the United States. In it, I argue that Hippo language learners — mainly middle class adults and children — view their acquisition of multiple languages as a key to cosmopolitan citizenship, a personal identity and imagined community that transcends the boundaries of the nation-state. Major work in language and politics includes the edited volume Discourse, War and Terrorism (Hodges & Nilep 2007), a look at elite discourse responses to the terrorism attacks of September 11th, 2001, and my theory of political micro-economy outlined in the Journal of Pragmatics (2009). Political micro-economy traces the links between the micro-politics of face to face interaction and institutions such as nation and socioeconomic class. In terms of research methods, I use both discourse analysis and ethnographic observation, and try to combine these methods whenever possible.

I see the Society for Linguistic Anthropology’s digital content as serving essentially two audiences: Society members and a broader public. For SLA members, web content provides information about activities such as meetings, research prizes, conferences, and the like. We also support members by gathering information on research tools, teaching materials, and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology and other AAA publications. In addition to SLA members, public information on the SLA web site and other digital channels also serves non-members. Students or potential students of linguistic anthropology seek information about the broad range of activities undertaken by practitioners and scholars, and specific advice on entering the field. Beyond practicing and aspiring anthropologists, too, knowledge about language and society is of interest and of use to a broad general audience. SLA’s digital channels provide an opportunity to share the collected knowledge of the Society and its membership with policy makers, media, and the world.

My goal as DCE is to continue the good work undertaken by the SLA in recent years and to carry it forward into the future. Plans are already underway to improve and update existing features of the web site. In addition, I will try to engage more members as well as non-members through SLA’s facebook page, twitter feed, and blog. I feel it is my role to invite others to contribute, to curate and edit those contributions, and to contribute to the creation of additional content.

SLA members also have a role to play in digital content, contributing your knowledge and expertise to our research tools and teaching materials collections, and contributing to the blog and social media. Any member who wishes to become a regular contributor should contact me to arrange access; any member who wishes to make a one-time contribution can send it to me for publication it in the appropriate channel. Finally, members as well as non-members are welcome to provide information and requests to guide the development of digital contents. Comments are welcome on most blog postings, or you can contact me via email.

Chad Nilep