Linguistic Anthropology Reading Group

Update: 2022-01-10

The Linguistic Anthropology Reading Group meets monthly to discuss a range of readings, written in the tradition of linguistic and semiotic anthropology, from classic papers to modern ethnographies, from sociolinguistics to semiotic theory. Emphasis is given to how the selected readings inform broader themes in anthropology, and the research interests of members. There are also opportunities for members to discuss their own research. Join us!
Student convenors: or

Winter/Spring – 2022 – Upcoming Meetings (held online)

Readings are selected by group members at the end of the previous meeting.

  • Friday, February 11 – 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 11 – 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, April 22 – 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 13 – 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, June 10 – 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Previous Readings

Bourdieu, P. (1977). The economics of linguistic exchanges. Social Science Information16(6), 645–668.

Durkheim, É. (1949). The division of labor in society. Free Press. (Intro, conclusion and chapter of choice.)

Gal, S., & Irvine, J. T. (2019). Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Fleming, L., & Slotta, J. (2018). The pragmatics of kin address: A sociolinguistic universal and its semantic affordances. Journal of Sociolinguistics22(4), 375–405.

Fleming, L. (2011). Name Taboos and Rigid Performativity. Anthropological Quarterly84(1), 141–164.

Fleming, L. (2020). The elementary structures of kinship interaction: Corporeal communication in joking-avoidance relationships. SALSA XXVII, 10.

Goffman, Erving. (1971). Strategic Interaction. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania  – Chp. (p.85-145)

Goodwin, C. (2018). Co-operative action. Cambridge University Press. 

Heritage, J. (2012). The Epistemic Engine: Sequence Organization and Territories of Knowledge. Research on Language and Social Interaction45(1), 30–52. 

Irvine, J. T. (1996). Shadow conversations: The indeterminacy of participant roles. In M. Silverstein & G. Urban (Eds.), Natural histories of discourse (pp. 131–159). University of Chicago Press.

Keane, W. (2016). Ethical life: Its natural and social histories. Princeton University Press. Chapter 1. 

Keane, W. (2003). Semiotics and the social analysis of material things. Language & Communication23(3–4), 409–425.

Kockelman, Paul. 2005. “The Semiotic Stance.” Semiotica. 157–1 / 4 , pp 233–304

Parmentier, R. J. (2016). Signs and society: Further studies in semiotic anthropology. Indiana University Press. Part I: Foundations of Peircean Semiotics (Pages. 1-80)

Searle, J. R. (2011 [1969]). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language (34th. print). Univ. Press.

Sidnell, J., Meudec, M., & Lambek, M. (2019). Ethical immanence. Anthropological Theory, 19(3), 303–322.

Silverstein, M. (1976). Shifters, linguistic categories, and cultural description. In K. H. Basso & H. Selby (Eds.), Meaning in anthropology (1st ed.–, pp. 11–55). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Stevanovic, M., & Svennevig, J. (2015). Introduction: Epistemics and deontics in conversational directives. Journal of Pragmatics78, 1–6. (Optional)