Around the world, language functions as much more than a technical means of communication. Conversing with others in a specific language with certain rhythms, styles, registers, forms, and dialects can prompt different modes—sometimes, even categories—of citizenship, connection, and belonging. In this unit, students will learn about language as it relates not only to race relations and constructions of racial identities but also to the maintenance of or challenge to wider discriminatory systems. Through examples from across time and space, students will also gain an understanding of how languages thrive, clash, broaden, or limit people’s access to different groups and spaces.
Garza, Joyhanna Yoo. 2021. “‘Where All My Bad Girls At?’: Cosmopolitan Femininity Through Racialized Appropriations in K-pop.” Gender and Language 15 (1): 11–41.
Hill, Jane H. 1998. “Language, Race, and White Public Space.” American Anthropologist 100 (3): 680–689.
Rosa, Jonathan, and Nelson Flores. 2017. “Unsettling Race and Language: Toward a Raciolinguistic Perspective.” Language in Society 46 (5): 621–647.
Smalls, Krystal A. 2018. “Fighting Words: Anti-Blackness and Discursive Violence in an American High School.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 28 (3): 356–383.
Article: Signithia Fordham’s “Dissin’ ‘the Standard’: Ebonics as Guerrilla Warfare at Capital High”
Article: Arthur Spears’ “White Supremacy and Anti-Blackness: Theory and Lived Experience”
Blog: H. Samy Alim and Imani Perry’s “DEA and Ebonics”
Book: Norma Mendoza-Denton’s Homegirls: Language and Cultural Practice Among Latina Youth Gangs
Book: Jennifer Roth-Gordon’s Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio de Janeiro
Interview: Alex Shashkevich’s “Stanford Experts Highlight Link Between Language and Race in New Book,” featuring anthropologist H. Samy Alim
Podcast: Benjamin Bean, AnthroPod “Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Decolonizing Anthropology: A Conversation With Jonathan Rosa”
Video: Stuart Hall’s “Race: The Floating Signifier”
Video: Kritika Sharma’s “The Linguistics of Racism: Examining Our Language and Its Power”
Marlaina Martin (2022)