Kira Hall

Kira Hall
University of Colorado Boulder | CUB · Linguistics and Anthropology

Linguistics and Anthropology

About

98
Publications
192,081
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Introduction
Much of my work as a linguistic anthropologist and sociolinguist seeks to expose the complex ways in which language is formative to sociocultural understandings of gender and sexuality, whether located in institutions such as media and government or in the interactional practices of everyday life. Central to this undertaking is my ethnographic work on the language practices of Hindi-speaking communities identifying with non-normative systems of gender and sexuality in northern India. More recently, my work has turned to topics that include embodied sociolinguistics, language and gesture in contemporary US politics, and language and sociality in autism.
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 2005 - July 2018
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2001 - August 2005
University of Colorado Boulder
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 1990 - December 1995
University of California, Berkeley
Field of study
  • Linguistics, Anthropology, and South Asian Studies

Publications

Publications (98)
Article
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The rise of India's global economy has reinforced a perception of English as a language of sexual modernity within the expanding middle classes. This article explores this perception in the multilingual humor of Hindi-speaking Delhi youth marginalized for sexual and gender difference. Their joking routines feature the Sikh Sardarji, a longstanding...
Chapter
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This chapter focuses on ethnography as a multi-method research approach in the study of language, gender, and sexuality. The approach is especially appropriate to the field's understanding of gender and sexuality as intertwined social systems that are brought into being through situated discursive practice. Yet the dynamism of gender and sexuality...
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This article draws from ethnographic research among youth in Delhi's expanding middle classes to call for more sociolinguistic attention to the role played by sexuality discourse in the reproduction of class relations. The discussion highlights the centrality of the middle classes to sustaining as well as shifting sexual normativity, suggesting tha...
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This article reviews accounts of “hugging” across evolutionary paradigms to expose how understandings of gesture are shaped by scientific theorizations of the ways humans and animals differ. The divergent roles assigned to gesture in human communication by Vygotskian and Chomskyan researchers can be traced to research on human exceptionalism during...
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This fourth and final issue of the 2021 four-part Theme Series "Thirty-year Retrospective on Language, Gender and Sexuality Research" shows how studies of language, gender and sexuality may be enlivened by seriously engaging with the notion of place – understood as one’s geographical location, locus of enunciation and/or position within the field....
Conference Paper
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We are pleased to announce the Full Program for SLA 2022. Thrice-postponed since its originally scheduled date in 2020, the Society for Linguistic Anthropology Spring Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in Boulder, Colorado and on the virtual platform Gather.town during April 7-9, 2022, with pre-conference plenaries occurring in both loca...
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This third issue of the 2021 four-part Theme Series "Thirty-year Retrospective on Language, Gender and Sexuality Research" features seven essays focused on the theme of intersectionality by prominent scholars in the field. Mel Y. Chen revisits the melancholy they experienced in their training as a linguist pursuing transdisciplinarity in the 1990s...
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This second issue of the 2021 four-part Theme Series "Thirty-year Retrospective on Language, Gender and Sexuality Research" features seven essays focused on the theme of practice by prominent scholars in the field. Deborah Tannen, Penelope Eckert, Marjorie Harness Goodwin, and Elinor Ochs & Tamar Kremer-Sadlik show how the field’s attention to the...
Article
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This thirty-year retrospective on language, gender and sexuality research, launched in anticipation of the thirtieth anniversary of the 1992 Berkeley Women and Language Conference, showcases essays by luminaries who presented papers at the conference as well as allied scholars who have taken the field in new directions. Revitalising a tradition set...
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This editorial introduces issue 15(1) of the journal Gender and Language by reflecting on the theorization of power in language, gender, and sexuality research over the last thirty years. Drawing on the recent work of Argentine theoretician and activist Verónica Gago, the editorial calls for more attention to the role of feminist "potencia" in chal...
Article
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This editorial introduces the 14(4) issue of Gender and Language with a reflection on crisis, refusal, collective action, and hope in the time of COVID-19, focusing on challenges faced by women as well as queer, transgender, and nonbinary people of all genders. Defining hope as the affective infrastructure of refusal, the discussion describes how c...
Chapter
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In contemporary articulations of gender and sexuality, the letter X carries semiotic currency as a symbol of diverse yet interrelated phenomena, among them indeterminacy, anonymity, censorship, and pornography. (Reprinted from Hall 2007)
Chapter
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Brazilian Portuguese translation of Hall (2005), "Intertextual Sexuality: Parodies of Class, Identity, and Desire in Liminal Delhi." Translated by Pedro Rieger and Rodrigo Borba and published in Rodrigo Borba (ed.), Discursos transviados: por uma linguística queer.
Chapter
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The field of language and gender is methodologically diverse, encompassing approaches that include conversation analysis, corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, discursive psychology, linguistic anthropology, and variationist sociolinguistics. Within this diversity, ethnography has long been a key method for interrogating the social semio...
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This chapter reviews the concept of agency in linguistic anthropology, defined as the capacity for socially meaningful action. Under this definition, the construal of agency is an indexical process whereby people recognize actors and their identities through the interpretation of locally salient actions. The ideologies behind these interpretations...
Chapter
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Adapted from Hall, Goldstein, and Ingram (2016) for a volume on language in the Trump era, this chapter attributes the success of Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 Republican primary to its value as comedic entertainment. The chapter builds on Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1984) notion of the“grotesque body” to examine the ways that Trump’s unconventional politic...
Chapter
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Hindi translation of Hall 2009 ("A Poet's Justice"), which discusses the life and work of Dr. Ved Prakash 'Vatuk', Indian folklorist, essayist, linguist, and author of over 30 internationally recognized volumes of political poetry. Translated by Ved Prakash Vatuk and published in the book सात्विक आक्रोश के जन-कवि वेद प्रकाश 'वटुक', edited by Shribh...
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This essay, authored by the co-editors of the journal Gender and Language for their debut issue 14.1, analyzes the transnational uptake of the Chilean feminist protest "Un violator en tu camino" ('A Rapist In Your Path') as a response to neo-nationalist discourses framing "gender" as the enemy. Introducing articles by Deborah Chirrey, Deyanira Roja...
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Urdu translation of Bucholtz and Hall's (2008) "All of the Above: New Coalitions in Sociolinguistics." Published in the IIUI journal Me'yar and translated by Muhammad Numan and Fahim Javed.
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Spanish translation of Bucholtz & Hall's 2008 "All of the Above: New Coalitions in Sociolinguistics." Translated by Mayelo Zambrano and published in Mercedes Niño-Murcia Virginia Zavala, and Susana de los Heros (eds.), Hacia una sociolingüística crítica: desarrollos y debates.
Article
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This blog post, published on the International Gender and Language Association website, analyzes the transnational uptake of the Chilean feminist protest "Un violator en tu camino" ('A Rapist In Your Path') as a response to neo-nationalist discourses framing "gender" as the enemy. Authored by the new co-editors of the journal Gender and Language, t...
Article
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This special issue was born out of a conversation initiated at a panel organized by two of us at the ninth biannual meeting of the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA), held at City University of Hong Kong in May 2016. The principal goal of the panel was to stimulate an academic discussion on the role of normativity and antinormati...
Book
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The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality, with a hard-copy publication date of 2021 (with chapters published online beginning in 2018), is the first handbook exclusively devoted to research in language and sexuality. The commissioned chapters included in the Table of Contents, updated here November 10, 2020, together put forth a broad understa...
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Croatian translation of Bucholtz & Hall 2004. Trans. Lorena Čačković. Na mnoge je načine proučavanje lingvističke antropologije ustvari proučavanje jezika i identiteta. Bavljenje jezičnom proizvodnjom kulture povlači sa sobom zanimanje za broj-ne kulturalno specifične subjektne pozicije koje govornici utjelovljuju kroz jezik. Stoga klasična lingvis...
Article
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This article builds on interlocutor comments to “The Hands of Donald Trump: Entertainment, Gesture, Spectacle” (Hall, Goldstein, and Ingram 2016), a study published before the 2016 presidential election that analyzes Trump’s use of derisive humor in the Republican Party primaries. We move this earlier analysis forward by examining the ways that Tru...
Research
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The contributors to this special colloquium, building on Hall, Goldstein, and Ingram (2016), examine the ways that Trump’s semiotic displays on the campaign trail inform the material policies of the early Trump administration. Taken together, the articles trace the intensification of white racism as Trump’s rhetoric of patriotic nationalism becomes...
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Commentators from a broad range of perspectives have been at pains to explain Donald Trump’s transition from billionaire businessman to populist presidential candidate. This article draws on cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and rhetorical theory to argue that the success of Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 Republican primary was in part...
Chapter
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Originally published in 2002 and reprinted in Blum's (2016) textbook on culture and communication, this chapter challenges the traditional linguistic understanding of “natural gender” as the biologically conditioned counterpart to "grammatical gender." After providing a review of the workings of grammatical gender in the Hindi language system, the...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we call for an embodied sociolinguistics - or, more precisely, an embodied sociocultural linguistics (Bucholtz and Hall 2008). Drawing on scholarship from a variety of approaches that contribute to this interdisciplinary field, we discuss work on embodiment that centers on several important analytic areas: the voice; the bodily sem...
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Published in Oxford Bibliographies Online, this peer-reviewed 22,000-word field statement and bibliography annotates central developments and texts in the area of language, gender, and sexuality.
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Appearing in the online resource Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics, this peer-reviewed 22,000-word field statement and bibliography annotates central developments and texts in the area of language, gender, and sexuality.
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Teenage schoolgirls in Le Roy, New York, captured the attention of the U.S. public in 2011 and 2012 when they developed acute motor and vocal tics. Dramatic images of the girls’ involuntary movements were briefly seen on national news and social media before clinical neurologists diagnosed the girls with “mass psychogenic illness” and required thei...
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This article details how the theorization of code switching and associated practices has been reliant on the theorization of identity, with both transformed through escalating contact set into motion by globalization. The review describes four traditions of code switching research that suggest divergent theoretical perspectives on language and iden...
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This commentary responds to papers in a special issue on " Anxiety, Insecurity, and Border Crossing: Language Contact in a Globalizing World." The discussion considers how anxiety emerges as transnational subjects seek semiotic stability in the global economy's shifting terrain of indexical relations. Although contact zones informed by neoliberalis...
Chapter
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This chapter, abbreviated from the 2003 edition of The Handbook of Language and Gender, provides an exposition of historical shifts that have governed the field's understanding of normativity and deviance. In a review of research that begins with early twentieth-century texts on "women's languages" and "men's languages" and concludes with recent di...
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In a review of contributions to a special issue of Discourse & Society on queer linguistics, this article argues that the concept of indexicality, as theorized across diverse fields in sociocultural linguistics, has the potential to offer a much richer account of subjectivity than found in dominant strands of queer theory. While queer theory valori...
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This epilogue responds to articles published in a special issue on face and identity in the Journal of Politeness Research. The essay advances a bidirectional call for a deeper consideration of the relationship between face and identity: to scholars of politeness to consider the place of identity in facework; and to scholars of identity to consider...
Article
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This epilogue responds to articles published in a special issue on face and identity in the Journal of Politeness Research. The essay advances a bidirectional call for a deeper consideration of the relationship between face and identity: to scholars of politeness to consider the place of identity in facework; and to scholars of identity to consider...
Chapter
Originally published in 2002 and reprinted in Blum's (2012) textbook on culture and communication, this chapter questions the traditional linguistic understanding of “natural gender” as the biologically conditioned counterpart to "grammatical gender." After providing a review of the workings of grammatical gender in the Hindi language system, the c...
Chapter
Full-text available
This article, reprinted from Hall (2009) in the 2nd edition of Coates and Pichler's Language and Gender Reader, addresses the intersection of social class, code switching, and globalization by analyzing divergent indexicalities of English and Hindi among lesbians and transgender men in a New Delhi NGO. The bilingual transgender men (or "boys") who...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we propose a framework for the analysis of identity as constituted in linguistic interaction. We argue for the analytic value of approaching identity as a relational and sociocultural phenomenon that emerges and circulates in local discourse contexts of interaction rather than as a stable structure located primarily in the individu...
Chapter
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This article is a 2009 Brazilian Portuguese translation of Anna Livia and Kira Hall's chapter "It's a Girl: Bringing Performativity Back to Linguistics," originally published in 1997 as the introduction to the edited volume Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality (Oxford University Press, pp. 3-18). Trans. Rodrigo Borba and Cristiane Maria...
Book
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This volume, published in honor of the Indian poet, folklorist, essayist, and linguist Ved Prakash Vatuk, showcases the work of prominent scholars who have been influenced by Vatuk’s writings on inequality and social justice in India and across the Indian diaspora. The volume brings together anthropologists, economists, literary critics, political...
Chapter
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This introductory chapter to the festschrift _Studies in Inequality and Social Justice_ (ed. Kira Hall, Archana Prakashan 2009) discusses the life and work of Dr. Ved Prakash Vatuk: Indian folklorist, essayist, linguist, and author of over 30 internationally recognized volumes of political poetry.
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This chapter interviews phone sex operators in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1990s and finds that employees utilize the “women’s language” of Lakoff 1975. This finding both draws attention to women’s language as a sexual commodity and complicates the characterization of such forms as powerless. The use of women’s language by phone sex emp...
Chapter
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This article addresses the intersection of social class, code switching, and globalization by analyzing divergent indexicalities of English and Hindi among lesbians and transgender men in a New Delhi NGO. The bilingual transgender men (or "boys") who are the subject of the study resist the global prioritization of same-sex desire by using Hindi, wh...
Article
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As the history of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology shows, a sharp distinction between these fields and others concerned with the sociocultural investigation of language is untenable given their significant common ground. The article describes the current state of relations between sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and similar a...
Article
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This commentary responds to the papers in the special issue ‘Accomplishing identity in bilingual interaction’ and particularly to the use of Bucholtz and Hall’s (2004a, 2004b, 2005) framework for the linguistic analysis of identities in interaction. The commentary focuses on the relationship between theory and empirical work, with attention to the...
Book
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This volume brings together eighteen academic essays authored by the Indian scholar Dr. Ved Prakash Vatuk—folklorist, linguist, essayist, and author of over thirty internationally recognized volumes of political poetry. The essays extend Vatuk's understanding of the intimate relationship between folklore studies, linguistics, and political activism...
Chapter
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In contemporary articulations of gender and sexuality, the letter X carries semiotic currency as a symbol of diverse yet interrelated phenomena, among them indeterminacy, anonymity, censorship, and pornography.
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The themes of language and lore that frame the collected academic writings of poet, linguist, and folklorist Ved Prakash Vatuk are intimately and cohesively grounded in the author's life-long quest for social justice. What Vatuk learned early on as a child coming of age during the final years of British-ruled India is that this quest requires trave...
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From early studies in descriptivist linguistics, the anthropological study of language, gender, and sexuality has developed into a distinctive area of research within linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics. The field's early focus on gender difference and male dominance has been supplanted more recently by a set of concerns grounded in curren...
Article
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The article proposes a framework for the analysis of identity as produced in linguistic interaction, based on the following principles: (1) identity is the product rather than the source of linguistic and other semiotic practices and therefore is a social and cultural rather than primarily internal psychological phenomenon; (2) identities encompass...
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This article examines articulations of class, identity, and desire as performed by a community of kotis in northern India, a transgender group that impersonates a second transgender group known as hijras in a staged event called "hijra-acting." Through a linguistic parody of lower-class hijras performing a birth celebration for their upperclass pat...
Article
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The article proposes a framework for the analysis of identity as produced in linguistic interaction, based on the following principles: (1) identity is the product rather than the source of linguistic and other semiotic practices and therefore is a social and cultural rather than primarily internal psychological phenomenon; (2) identities encompass...
Chapter
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In many ways, the study of linguistic anthropology is the study of language and identity. The field’s concern with the linguistic production of culture entails a concern with the variety of culturally specific subject positions that speakers enact through language. Thus classic linguistic-anthropological studies of performance and ritual, of social...
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The field of language and sexuality has gained importance within socioculturally oriented linguistic scholarship. Much current work in this area emphasizes identity as one key aspect of sexuality. However, recent critiques of identity-based research advocate instead a desire-centered view of sexuality. Such an approach artificially restricts t...
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This chapter revisits Robin Lakoff's classic 1975 text "Language and Woman's Place" through the lens of language ideology. The paper argues that Lakoff's understanding of a stereotyped "women's language" is primarily about power, not gender, as seen in her extension of this variety to men who share a marginality brought about by exclusion from inst...
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This chapter questions the traditional linguistic understanding of “natural gender” as the biologically conditioned counterpart to "grammatical gender." After providing a review of the workings of grammatical gender in the Hindi language system, the chapter focuses on uses of this system by communities of Hindi-speaking hijras who identify as “na m...
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The Two Sexes Growing Up Apart, Coming Together. Eleanor E. Maccoby. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1998. 384 pp. $39.95, £25.95. ISBN 0-674-91481-3. Maccoby examines how human development from infancy into adulthood is affected by gender. She finds childhood experiences in same-sex groups particularly important in shaping subsequent rel...
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Excerpted reprint of Hall (1995) published in Deborah Cameron's (1998) The Feminist Critique of Language.
Book
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(from the back cover) This pioneering collection of previously unpublished articles on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender language combines queer theory and feminist theory with the latest thinking on language and gender. The book expands the field well beyond the study of "gay slang" to consider gay dialects (such as Polari in England), early...
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This essay attempts to reconcile two conflicting feminist response to computer-mediated communication in the early 1990s. Since both responses reflect the intersection of computer technology with subversive feminist counterculture, I refer to them collectively as cyberfeminism. The first, influenced by postmodern discussion on gender fluidity by fe...
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Perceived as outside the reproducing heterosexual mainstream and ostracized because of it, India's hijras have established a divergent social space that both parallels and opposed organizations of gender in the binary system that excludes them. The marginalized nature of this network has led to the development of a specialized in-group vocabulary,...
Book
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(from the back cover) Gender Articulated is a groundbreaking work of sociolinguistics that forges new connections between language-related fields and feminist theory. Refuting apolitical, essentialist perspectives on language and gender, the essays presented here examine a range of cultures, languages and settings. They explicitly connect feminist...
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Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session Dedicated to the Contributions of Charles J. Fillmore (1994)
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This is an early 1992 version of an article that was later published under the title "Lip Service on the Fantasy Lines" (Hall 1995).
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This paper examines representations of therapeutic interactions involving female psychoanalysts in American film. Since such films portray characters engaging in conversation that addresses the linguistic interaction itself, they advance certain expectations of men's and women's speech, in particular, the implicit Freudian expectation that women's...
Book
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This is Volume 1 of the Proceedings of the Second Berkeley Women and Language Conference (edited by Hall, Bucholtz, and Moonwomon), which took place at UC Berkeley during the Spring of 1992. Many of the articles that appear in these Proceedings were later developed into what are now considered classics in the field of language, gender, and sexualit...
Book
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This is Volume 2 of the Proceedings of the Second Berkeley Women and Language Conference (edited by Hall, Bucholtz, and Moonwomon), which took place at UC Berkeley during the Spring of 1992. Many of the articles that appear in these Proceedings were later developed into what are now considered classics in the field of language, gender, and sexualit...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Research in this project attends to the role of embodiment in everyday interaction, seeking to describe and theorize the body’s potential for producing social meaning.
Project
Due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns, the Society for Linguistic Anthropology Executive Board has announced another shift in the date of the SLA conference to April 7-9, 2022. The conference will be held in Boulder, Colorado for all those able to attend in person and will also offer a virtual component, sponsored by the SLA Language & Social Justice Committee, for those wanting to participate from other locations. Please see attached letter for full details, as well as our Trello site at https://trello.com/b/WDRouMFF. In October 2021, the SLA conference committee will be inviting contributors to update their panels and papers and also accepting new submissions for both the in-person and virtual components, so watch this space.
Project
Coauthored with Donna Goldstein and Matthew Ingram and forthcoming in October 2016 with HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. The article draws on cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and rhetorical theory to argue that the success of Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 Republican primary was in part due to its value as comedic entertainment. We examine the ways that Trump’s unconventional political style, particularly his use of gesture to critique the political system and caricature his opponents, brought momentum to his campaign by creating spectacle. The exaggerated depictions of the sociopolitical world that Trump crafts with his hands to oppose political correctness and disarm adversaries accrues visual capital in a mediatized twenty-first century politics that is celebrity driven.