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Call for American Anthropologist Editor in Chief

Position starts July 1, 2020, please apply.

2019, UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages

Working group appointed to address this initiative, led by Jenny Davis; other AAA section representatives (CASCA, AIA, SLA), AAA Executive Board member Jocelyn Ahlers, and AAA staff involved. SLA planning committee co-chairs appointed to working group are Erin Debenport and Karl Swinehart. Working group is partnering locally for the 2019 AAA Meetings (Vancouver, Canada), plans Indigenous-languages focus at the meetings and throughout 2019. SLA may work with LSA or SSILA to support the initiative.

In Memoriam, presented by Kira Hall

Membership observed a moment of silence to acknowledge the loss of our colleagues who passed away: Jane Hill, Charles Goodwin, and Susan Irving-Tripp.

International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology

Seeking further contributors; if interested, contact James Stanlaw ([email protected]), Editor in Chief.

Treasurer’s Report and SLA President’s Financial Report

SLA in good standing:

  • JLA is strong revenue source (ranks 6 out of 31 AAA journals in revenue, which is one readership indicator). Ongoing publishing agreement with Wiley renewed in 2018 for additional five years.
  • Income earned on the 2018 inaugural SLA Meeting.
  • Membership growing, 741 members (4 out of 42 AAA sections in size).

Difficulties experienced fulfilling growing SLA personnel needs (with added positions, person-years of service needed: 30+ in 2000, 50+ in 2010, and 80+ in 2018) because membership is primarily growing amongst students (47% of total) who cannot fulfill many personnel needs. Proposed solutions include widely-publicizing staffing opportunities and managing program periodicity to facilitate staffing (e.g., alternate spring meeting and Sapir Prize; provide travel honoraria for all SLA officers (effective 9/2018); provide student-presenter conference travel funding at AAA or SLA spring meetings (likely effective before 11/2019, details forthcoming; funds will be competitive); propose similar funding for contingent faculty).

Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

JLA thriving—impact factors increasing in ranking. Thanks to peer reviewers and authors and especially Brigittine French and Alexandra (Misty) Jaffe for their book review work. SLA members are grieved by Misty’s passing.

SLA Section News

To view prior columns:


  • #MeToo
  • Repatriated/deported young people navigating language identity
  • 12-column “Ask an Editor” series on book publishing (Ilana Gershon)

Special thanks to Ilana Gershon, outgoing co-Editor, for her expertise, organization and contributions to AN.

Send column ideas to Amelia ([email protected]), Catherine ([email protected]), or Summerson ([email protected]).

SLA Spring Meeting

March 8-10, 2018 SLA inaugural conference at University of Pennsylvania, hosted by SLA President Asif Agha. Was very successful; more participation than expected (100 submissions anticipated; received over 200). Well-attended LSJ Committee workshop (with no concurrent events for maximum participation) and successful poster session and exhibit installation. Meeting at Penn kept costs low; Penn Anthropology Department donated space and Penn Museum provided it at reduced costs. Future meetings likely to cost more.

Many thanks to Jennifer Reynolds and Judy Pine for co-chairing the meeting planning committee and Chaise LaDousa for organizing submissions.

Will run on two-year cycle; next meeting planned for 2020. May partner with AES.

2018 AAA Annual Meeting

Similar 2017 and 2018 submission numbers. One invited session, four co-sponsored sessions.

A Google Doc increased panel submissions and reduced individual paper submissions. Lauren Deal creating graduate student panel-planning listserv. Individual paper submissions must be organized into panels.

Thanks to SLA program committee for their work. Volunteers are needed for the 2019 SLA program committee (contact Jennifer Roth-Gordon [email protected]).

Language and Social Justice Committee

LSJ focuses on language and social justice, scholarship, and working for change. To join LSJ listserv, contact [email protected]; also active on Twitter.

LSJ committee led by six core members (three-year terms, three cohorts of two people each). Lynnette Arnold and Judy Pine new co-chairs following 2018 AAA Annual Meeting; Dominika Baran and Suzanne Mateus next cohort; two new core members needed. To apply, contact Lynnette Arnold ([email protected]) or Judy Pine ([email protected]).

LSJ-member book released: Language and Social Justice in Practice, by N. Avineri, L.R. Graham, E.J. Johnson, R.C. Riner, and J. Rosa (Eds.), (24 case-study chapters, for undergraduates).

SLA Online

New web-interface: Images needed. Approximately 600 SLA-website users (2018); digital presence also includes Twitter, Facebook, and blog. Send info to be tweeted out on conferences, events, new articles, etc. and blog ideas to Diego Arispe-Bazán (Social Media Manager): [email protected] or @soclinganth.

We thank Mariam Durrani, outgoing Digital Media Director (2016-2018).

SLA Elections

Costantine Nakassis—new Secretary/Treasurer (2018-2020)

Courtney Handman—new Member at Large (2018-2021)

Catherine Rhodes—new Anthropology Newsletter Column Co-Editor (2018-2021)

Chaise LaDousa and Sonia Das—new Journal of Linguistic Anthropology Editors (2018-2021)

Elizabeth Falconi—new Digital Media Director (2018-2021)

Erin Debenport—new Nominations Committee member (2018-2021)

Jillian Cavanaugh—newly serving as Nominations Committee Chair (2018-2019)

Big thanks to outgoing SLA personnel who jointly provided 15 years of distinguished service.

Starting 2019, SLA will have third Member at Large position; these will move to three-year terms.

Nominations Committee

Two positions to fill; two candidates needed for each. Please contact Christopher Ball, Jillian Cavanaugh, or Erin Debenport to volunteer.

SLA Award for Public Outreach and Community Service
Special thanks to selection committee: Patrick Moore, Leila Monaghan, and Lynnette Arnold. Applications encouraged for next year.

Georgia Ennis (University of Michigan) produced a book in three languages (Quichua, Spanish, English) through community involvement and a radio program. Thanks to Bruce Mannheim for writing the nomination letter.

2018 SLA Undergraduate Essay Prize

Special thanks to judges Alexander King and Constantine Nakassis.


Emily Ricker (Grinnell College) “Discourse, Power, and the Rape Trial: A Textual Analysis of People v. Turner”

Honorable Mention

Thomas Gerz (Temple University) “Grammatical Ontologies in Japanese and English”

Hai Ri Jeon (New York University) “Aegyo: From Cuteness to Cultural Identity Marker”

2018 John Gumperz Annual Graduate Student Essay Prize

Marco Jacquemet presented a remembrance of John Gumperz (1922-2013); as of 2018, the Graduate Student Essay Prize is named in his honor. Thank you to judges Marco Jacquemet and James Collins.


Nikolas Sweet (University of Michigan; faculty advisor: Judith Irvine) “Ritual Contingency: Teasing and the Politics of Participation”

Runners Up

Sharon Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania; faculty advisor: Costantine Nakassis, University of Chicago) “‘Iraqi’ in English: Negotiating American Language Ideologies of Equal Access and Dominance”

Crystal Sheedy (SUNY at Albany; faculty advisor: Jim Collins) “U T’aan Nukuch Máak (Advice of the Elders): An Entrance into Maya Women’s Symbolic World”

Hallie Wells (University of California, Berkeley; faculty advisors: Charles Briggs, William Hanks, Charles Hirschkind) “Dialogic Authority and Productive Constraint in Malagasy Kabary”

SLA Interdisciplinary Public Engagement Award

Panel presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting in 2019 by Rusty Barrett, Jeremy Calder, Chantal Gratton, Jenny Davis, and Lal Zimman: “New directions in LGBTQ+ Linguistics: Commemorating the LSA Special Interest Group on LGBTQ+ Issues in Linguistics”

Deep thanks to Asif Agha for all his work as SLA President.

Catherine R. Rhodes is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and serves as a co-editor for the SLA column of Anthropology News.

Amelia Tseng is contributing editor for the Society for Linguistic Anthropology.

Cite as: Rhodes, Catherine R. 2019. “SLA Business Meeting Report.” Anthropology News website, February 28, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1104