Linguistic Anthropology

The study of language has been part of anthropology since the discipline started in the 1ate 1870s. This site is a place for linguistic anthropologists to post their work and discuss important events and trends in the field.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Candidates for AAA Office

Some well qualified linguistic anthropologists are running for office both within the Society of Linguistic Anthropology and in the general American Anthropological Association. Below are the statements of candidates for internal SLA office. Could somebody who has not yet voted in the general election please post the statements by Charles Briggs, Pam Bunte and Rachel Reynolds?

Laura Ahearn and Galey Modan are running for Society of Linguistic Anthropology Member-at-Large

LAURA M AHEARN (PhD, University of Michigan, 1994) Positions Held: Associate Professor (2004-Pres) Rutgers University; Director, South Asian Studies Program (2004-2006) Rutgers University; Assistant Professor (2001-2004) Rutgers University; Assistant Professor (1997-2001) University of South Carolina; Visiting Asst Professor (1994-1996) University of Michigan; Interests and/or Activities: language and agency, literacy and social change, gender; Significant Publications: “Writing Desire in Nepali Love Letters,” in Deborah Cameron and Don Kulick (eds.), The Language and Sexuality Reader, Routledge, pp. 258-269, 2006; “Language and Agency,” Annual Review of Anthropology 30:109-137, 2001; Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in Nepal. University of Michigan Press, 2001. (Second edition published in 2006. South Asian edition with Adarsh Publishers, New Delhi, 2004.)


I would very much welcome the opportunity to serve the Society of Linguistic Anthropology as Member-At-Large. I am particularly eager to discuss ways that the SLA can help communicate to non-linguistic anthropologists all that our subdiscipline has to offer scholars in other subdisciplines of anthropology and beyond. One of the most effective means SLA has employed for achieving this goal is the establishment of the Edward Sapir Book Prize for the best monograph written in linguistic anthropology over a two-year period. As Invitations to Love received Honorable Mention in the 2002 Sapir Book Prized competition, I would be especially interested in helping to judge future submissions. I would also work hard to make sure that the competition is well publicized, both to encourage submissions and also, once the prize has been awarded, to attract attention to the prize winners. Other possible ways of increasing the awareness of research by linguistic anthropologists include supporting and expanding the new Linguistic Anthropology blog ( and providing more opportunities for dialogue between linguistic anthropologists and scholars in other anthropological and non-anthropological (sub-)disciplines. I would enjoy working on any such projects that help to raise the profile of linguistic anthropology.

GABRIELLA MODAN (PhD, Georgetown University, 2000) Positions Held: Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics (2006-present) The Ohio State University; Assistant Professor (2000-2006) The Ohio State University; Interests and/or Activities: language and place; urban anthropology; ethnographic critical discourse analysis; Significant Publications: Turf Wars: Discourse, Diversity, and the Politics of Place, Blackwell Press 2007; "Public Toilets for a Diverse Neighborhood": Spatial Purification Practices in Community Development Discourse,Journal of Sociolinguistics 2002, 6(4); White, Wholewheat, Rye: Jews and Ethnic Categorization in Washington, DC,Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 2001 11(1).


One of the SLA’s strengths is our interdisciplinarity; we are members of multiple AAA sections, and have training in and work in multiple disciplinary contexts both within and outside the academy. I believe that we can capitalize on this interdisciplinarity to both increase declining membership in the organization, and to develop more channels to increase public and professional access to linguistic anthropology resources. If elected as member-at-large, I will work on outreach efforts to increase membership in the SLA (for both intellectual and budgetary benefit) and to strengthen SLA interaction with other AAA sections through utilizing the networks of our members and promoting co-sponsored sessions and open calls for panels that are widely circulated within and outside of SLA circles. In addition, I will work to strengthen efforts to provide free access to current and accurate linguistic anthropological knowledge in fora that are already widely accessed by people looking for such information, such as the SLA website, Wikipedia (where significant work has already been done by SLA members), and linguistic anthropology blogs. Finally, I would like to open discussion about how the Society can play a larger public role by using its voice in public policy debates about language.