Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic anthropology offers an ethnographic research focus that incorporates the formal analytical tools of linguistics with critical social and cultural theory and practice. Faculty member Dr. Bernard Perley is actively involved in ethnographic research that addresses language and social justice issues as theoretical contributions to contemporary themes in linguistic anthropology. Dr. Perley are also committed to practical contributions to local communities dealing with social and cultural communicative processes that address stereotypes, structural inequalities, and the prospects of self-determination. This programmatic initiative permits collaborative research and curricular development in museum studies, sociocultural research, archaeology, and physical anthropology. Dr. Perley also teaches courses and conducts research in oral history and narrative, semiotics and representation, race and gender inequalities, language endangerment and revitalization, and language, new media, and emergent identities. Regional research foci include Milwaukee, the Great Lakes Watershed (Anishinaabe traditional territory), and New Brunswick, Canada.

The linguistic anthropology program offers undergraduates research opportunities in Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin (collaboration with local American Indian communities) and New Orleans. Furthermore, the faculty encourage collaboration across the subfields as well as across disciplines such as Architecture, Art, and Linguistics and programs such as American Indian Studies, Hmong Studies, and Cultures and Communities. Undergraduates will learn and use ethnographic and linguistic theories and methods to design and complete their own linguistic anthropology research and thesis projects.

Graduate students will be able to develop innovative research projects in linguistic anthropology as well as the other subfields by working closely with the faculty as well as affiliated programs at UWM. The linguistic anthropology research experience will provide graduate students with theoretical and practical skills that will be valuable in a variety of language related professions in a contemporary global job market.

Research interests and practices of the linguistic anthropology faculty include:

  • Oral history
  • Narrative analysis
  • Language contact and language endangerment
  • Language revitalization and self-determination
  • New media, new linguistic practices, and new social identities
  • Language ideologies and social justice

Faculty are affiliated with the following programs and centers on the UWM campus: