Linguistic Anthropology at the LSA Summer Institute

The Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute, held in odd-numbered years, is a unique opportunity for linguistic anthropologists to further their background in general linguistics, the study the structure of specific languages, or to learn new research methods. The LSA Institute offers a wide range of possibilities for discovering new ways to incorporate issues related to language and discourse into their research.

#MeToo, Believing Survivors, and Cooperative Digital Communication

The #MeToo movement—as it emerges in social interaction and digital communication—is a discursive formation that suggests at least two frames of linguistic analysis. This column seeks to unpack the hashtag’s emergence in co-oxygenated social interaction, its transformation through digital communication, and closes with brief thoughts on its limitations for transformative social justice change.

Government Of, By, and For the Trolls

The United States and the world have now spent two years trying to figure out how to deal with an anti-social president. The task holds even more import over the next two years as Democrats and Never Trump Republicans consider how to challenge an incumbent president in 2020. Formulating an effective strategy should start by recognizing the ways Trumpian discourse adheres to prototypical “trolling” behavior and responding accordingly.

A Demagogue’s Words Matter

Trump’s immigration metaphors set a divisive tone from the top. His immigration metaphors do not constitute “plain speaking,” “strong language,” or “passionate debate,” nor can they be innocently excused as his “own style.” His language is textbook demagoguery, and his immigration metaphors help constitute our current sociopolitical moment.

Speaking with Silence

Words take center stage in the verbal sparring of the Twitter age. But, amidst the endless talk and noise of today’s political landscape, we often overlook the powerful communicative potential of silence.

Interview with Donald Brenneis

Donald Brenneis chatted with Ilana Gershon over Skype about the institutional and collegial relations that shaped his career, a reflection inspired by the Franz Boas award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology. Below is an edited transcript of the informal conversation.

What “Types of Racism” Does Trump Recognize?

Trump’s tweet on the anniversary of Charlottesville fails to conceptualize racism as anything other than a decontextualized form of personal prejudice unconnected to current and historical power relations in US society.

William Leap’s Reflections upon Retirement

William Leap is retiring after being a professor of anthropology at American University for 46 years. Ilana Gershon asks him to reflect on his career. What article or book that you wrote are you most pleased with?  Could you talk about the story behind writing it? Easier than citing a single book or article, I’d […]

Reclaiming “Allahu Akbar” from Semantic Pejoration

Allāhu akbar, the Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest,” has gained connotations in US public discourse that differ vastly from its meaning among Muslims. Understanding this process may be the first step to reclaiming its positive connotations.