Research

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I’m interested in the politics of linguistic diversity in American literature, culture, and education. My research can be grouped into four, overlapping clusters.

How can higher education institutions better support linguistic diversity and linguistic justice? In what ways can campus entities collaborate (both academic and non-academic units) to achieve those goals? I am exploring this in a book project, which includes concrete suggestions for faculty, staff, and administrators in an accessible format understandable and applicable to any actor in higher ed. This project is only made possible by those doing the real work out there, like April Baker-Bell, Anne Charity Hudley, Aris Clemons, Kelly Wright, the team at North Carolina State University, Kendra Calhoun, Vijay Ramjattan,  JPB Gerald (check out the Unstandardized English podcast!) and Megan Figueroa and Carrie Gillon’s Vocal Fries Pod (among many others I’m likely missing here!)

How do representations of so-called “nonstandard” and “non-native” Englishes appear in the long 19th century, and what is the relationship between those representations and the raciolinguistic ideologies of the time? In what ways do current ideas about language, place, and race trace back to the turn of the century? I have pursued these questions in my dissertation, a panel organized for MLA in 2017, multiple conference presentations, and a journal article manuscript under review about Charles Chesnutt’s long fiction. I’ll be investigating the linguistic construction of white womanhood in Mary Wilkins Freeman’s work at the SSAW  conference this fall.

What is the relationship between linguistics and literary studies? How do these disciplines inform and enrich each other? I began asking this question in my dissertation, but have also explored it through visiting talks at the University of Minnesota, conference presentations, as well as a journal article manuscript in progress, “Mark Twain and the Myth of Literary Dialect.” I talked about the implications of using literary texts as sources for sociolinguistic data at MLA 2021.

What are historically under-served students’ attitudes and beliefs about their own linguistic backgrounds, and how can that knowledge help us develop better teaching and programmatic support for those students? I am currently analyzing the reflective writings of my students in my Academic Success course for multilingual students to help answer these questions. I presented a poster about this experimental course at NAFSA in 2018. I have also blogged a bit about teaching with an eye towards linguistic diversity for Pedagogy and American Literary Studies.