Ayala Fader

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-869

Approve Date

October 8, 2021

Project Title

Fader, Ayala (Fordham U.) "The Demystifying Language Project (DLP): Ethnographic Writing and Public Linguistic Anthropology"

A central concern of linguistic anthropology is how language variation reinforces social hierarchies to create inequalities, yet much of this writing is inaccessible to those most affected, especially young people. The three-day proposed workshop seeks to dismantle this paradox by inviting a diverse group of linguistic anthropologists and sociolinguists to each “translate” a previously published research article into a two-page reading for high school students. The workshop is a critical step in expanding the Demystifying Language Project (DLP), which aims to transform high school students’ experiences with language by reading linguistic anthropology and conducting their own ethnographic research. A pilot program, however, revealed a dearth of accessible linguistic anthropology readings. In response, the workshop develops writing practices through structured collaborations among academics, undergraduates, a developmental editor, and high school teachers and students. Informed by critical pedagogy, language and social justice, and experimental ethnographic writing, the workshop supports learning to write fluently in multiple genres. The workshop will produce a curated set of readings published as an open-access resource and a collaboratively written reflective piece by the co-organizers. At a time when the purposes and epistemologies of our field are being upset in productive ways, the workshop strives to develop a public linguistic anthropology, transforming linguistic anthropology as a discipline while working together toward a more just world.