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Affiliation: American Anthropological Assn
Location: Arlington, VA, UNITED STATES
Biography: Education researcher with training in linguistics and linguistic anthropology, currently serving as Professional Fellow at the American Anthropological Association. I have worked as a language test developer at the Center for Applied Linguistics, a public high school teacher in greater Boston and an English Language Fellow in Kragujevac, Serbia. I hold an MA in TESOL from the School for International Training and a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University. My dissertation employed ethnography and video analysis to understand interaction in secondary and postsecondary mathematics classrooms. Other interests include practicing and applied anthropology, practitioner inquiry and inquiry-based pedagogy.
Subfield: Linguistic Anthropology
Job Type: Practicing
I went into Anthro because: My background is in linguistics and literature, and I worked as an ESL teacher for several years. As a researcher, I went from applied linguistics to sociolinguistics, and within sociolinguistics I specialized in discourse analysis, and as I pursued my research my work gradually became more and more anthropological. Eventually I realized that I wasn't interested in language per se, but in culture and society, and how language helps us understand and explain how people organize and coordinate the
My latest research is: I'm currently working on publishing sections of my dissertation, which was an ethnography of communication in mathematics classrooms. In my role at the AAA, one of my main responsibilities is to conduct and synthesize research on the profession of anthropology, so we can learn more about who anthropologists are, the current status of anthropology education, the kinds of jobs people have in the field, and that kind of thing.
My favorite text is: Everyone should read Ways with Words by Shirley Brice Heath. She begins with a real question that everyday people (preservice teachers) were asking, investigates it ethnographically, and in the process completely upends classist "common-sense" thinking about literacy. Then, she turns it around and develops applications for teachers and students. It's applied linguistic anthropology at its best.
My advice to potential anthropologists is: Anthropology overlaps with everything, so it’s worthwhile to do things just because you’re interested in them. But the hardest and most important thing is the ability to make clear observations and keep an open mind, like the Zen idea of "beginner's mind." When you’re studying what people do and why, it’s natural to make assumptions based on what you’re used to from your own culture and life experience, and those assumptions will make it hard for you to understand people on their own terms. Peop