Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic and semiotic anthropologists study the complex relationship between communication and broader socio-cultural processes. Harvard courses in linguistic and semiotic anthropology have focused on a number of topics of intellectual and political concern for students, such as language heritage, standardization, variation, and loss; the semiotics of social difference (e.g., nationality, class, ethnicity, gender and sexuality); speech and writing in educational and professional environments; and language, institutions, and power (e.g., propaganda, rhetoric, censorship). Harvard faculty and graduate students working in the field of linguistic and semiotic anthropology currently are conducting ethnographic research at the forefront of anthropological theory, integrating major topics in the discipline, such as language, music, and voice; religion, politics, and law; and materiality, mediation, and embodiment.