Signs of Race, Racializing Signs


Friday, September 27, 2019 (All day)


Tozzer Anthropology Building, 21 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

The 2019 Roman Jakobson Symposium; co-sponsored by the Asia Center, the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights, and the Kim Koo Forum at the Harvard Korea Institute
For more than a century, Sociocultural Anthropologists have argued for a critical reconceptualization of “race” to counter dominant and naturalized assumptions about the biological and hierarchical classification of human beings. This political and intellectual project concerns the problem of language, in terms of both the linguistic mediation of scientific and socio-political concepts, as well as the speech varieties associated with different populations. In recent decades, linguistic anthropologists and sociolinguists have developed pathbreaking ethnographic methods and analytical tools for explaining the fused semiotic processes of racialization and racism, especially the covert interpenetrations of linguistic structure, practice, and ideology that produce “race” as we experience (or deny) it today. The inaugural Roman Jakobson Symposium features scholars whose research unveils the semiotic elements of racialization and racism that shape contemporary life and politics.

Elaine Chun
Associate Professor, English Department and Linguistics Program, University of South Carolina

Paul Kroskrity
Professor, Department of Anthropology, UCLA

Adrienne Lo
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Waterloo

Angela Reyes
Professor in the Department of English, Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center

Jonathan Rosa
Assistant Professor of Education, Stanford University

Krystal Smalls
Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Organized by Nicholas Harkness, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University

The 2019 Roman Jakobson Symposium has received generous support from the Asia Center, the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights, and the Kim Koo Forum at the Harvard Korea Institute.