Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Of interest to: Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Inequality
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
Despite critiques by a number of linguists and linguistic anthropologists, especially scholars of color (e.g., Leonard 2011; Morgan 1994; Rosa & Flores 2017; Zentella forthcoming), racializing and colonizing ideologies remain deeply rooted in linguistic theory, methodology, and practice. Meanwhile, exclusionary ideologies and practices based on other intersectional axes of social difference, such as gender identity and disability, are largely invisible and unaddressed, although such conversations are already under way in other fields (e.g., Anderson 2006; Stryker 2008; Dean & Wahng 2004). The dialogues needed to address these problems are hampered by the policing of disciplinary boundaries, which enable academics hostile to social justice-oriented work to dismiss it as “not linguistics/(linguistic) anthropology.” In the same way, when such issues are brought into the scholarly realm rather than confined to the realm of “service,” these efforts are devalued as “not (real) research” or even “non-academic.” It is therefore of urgent importance for the well-being of students and scholars from nondominant groups that a broad ongoing discussion of these issues be initiated both in our discipline and in academia more generally. Taking a coalitional approach that respects the specificities of individuals’ and groups’ lived experience while also mobilizing around shared experiences of marginalization and trauma (Stanley et al. 2013), the panel offers one point of entry into such a conversation. The session opens with a paper by Lynn Hou, Anne Charity Hudley, Savithry Namboodiripad, and Corrine Occhino, presenting the results of the first large-scale survey on harassment and bias in linguistics and related fields. Adrienne Tsikewa then presents the results of an international survey regarding how and whether ethics discussions take place in training graduate students to document Indigenous languages. Kendra Calhoun’s paper complements these survey approaches by analyzing interview and focus group data with graduate students at a single research university who are minoritized within their departments on the basis of race, gender, and other factors. Next, Joyhanna Yoo Garza discusses the simultaneously affective and material labor involved in her creation of an organization to advocate for Asian and Pacific Islander graduate students, whose wide-ranging backgrounds and needs are often neglected in diversity discourses in higher education discourses. Jamaal Muwwakkil then provides a participant-observer perspective on the advocacy work of Black graduate students within academia and the discourse strategies they draw on for survival in this context. The focus shifts to faculty issues in Mary Bucholtz and Lal Zimman’s paper, which draws on linguistic-anthropological and interdisciplinary theoretical tools to argue for faculty responsibility in reimagining linguistics and related fields as well as the academy at large. Finally, Wesley Leonard synthesizes and comments on the papers from his perspective as a Native linguist and linguistic anthropologist who has made significant contributions both to challenging harmful academic practices and to offering more equitable frameworks for the social production and circulation of knowledge. As a whole, the panel seeks to offer critiques of and alternatives to how students, faculty, and community members from sociopolitically subordinated groups are positioned by and within academic structures and processes.