The SLA 2022 Spring Conference was jointly organized by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) and the Program in Culture, Language, and Social Practice (CLASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder.
As human societies face the tragedies of climate, war, racism, corruption, and displacement that are projected to define the 21st century, the SLA 2020 Fall Conference calls upon scholars to question the way forward in an imperfect future world. The future inhabits our uncertain present, generating complex intersections of crisis and hope. The imperfect, as a verb construction, describes an ongoing, incomplete action. With this conference theme, we wish to highlight the ever-unfinished and evolving condition of academic research and its contribution to pressing sociopolitical issues. How do we, in our role as researchers, reconcile time-honored methodologies with the novel challenges that have arisen in contemporary social life? How can our academic labor more effectively address the concerns of the future? We welcome submissions that make use of diverse methods, both micro and macro, to explore the precarity and forms of resistance that characterize our contemporary moment. We are especially interested in submissions that address the ways that language use may both enable and contest the sociopolitical shifts that continue to destabilize human equality (and indeed the future of humanity itself), whether at local, national, regional, or global scales.
In its focus on imperfect futures, the conference theme additionally proposes disruption and transformation as necessary concepts for critical language study. In social analytic research, these concepts each invoke traditional paradigms as they move toward more innovative ways of thinking and doing. We highlight disruption as a rethinking of relationships between researchers, participants, audiences, and methodologies. What counts as knowledge production in linguistic anthropology and related fields? Who gets to produce and circulate knowledge, and in what fora? How can we productively disrupt our reliance on knowledge systems that may be more suited to past instead of future concerns? Likewise, we highlight transformation as encompassing the many ways in which laypersons as well as researchers may change and advance the contours of language study to confront an increasingly anxious world. Through the reflexive interrogation of positionality and subjectivity, we search for emergent paths to take within—and beyond—the comfort zones in our research fields. Disruption and transformation, as mutually reinforcing, co-constitutive phenomena, create the opportunity for more critical and participatory directions in language study. This conference theme invites linguistic anthropologists and related researchers to reflect on ways to realize goals of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, gendered, and other forms of social justice in times of crisis and hope.
The conference featured 500+ presentations from leading and emerging scholars of language in social life, including 80+ panels, roundtables, workshops, and poster sessions.
Here you may find more detailed information about each of the keynote speakers for the conference:
- Letícia Cesarino, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
- Michel Degraff, Massachetts Institute of Technology
- Angela Reyes, City University of New York (CUNY)
- Virginia Zavala, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú