1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences



I have been exploring women’s participation in rugby social songs in the US and how they negotiate their personal identities and their rugger identities. Through interviews with rugby players in Alaska, I became interested in the differences between US rugby culture and New Zealand rugby culture as well as the role, use, and expression of haka.


As languages around the world rapidly disappear, the sociocultural situations of endangerment and their impact on communities remains largely unexplored. Ethnographic research consistently shows, “researchers and communities must come to understand what is happening to the speakers, not just what is happening to the language” (Granadillo and Orcutt-Gachiri, 3).


My research trajectory has grown from an interdisciplinary education in anthropology and linguistics along with my fascination with the place of language in human sociality. This has led me to develop methods of multimodal interaction and video analysis of embodied interaction within my ethnographic and documentary work, and also to develop historical linguistic methods bearing on the study of prehistory.


I am currently based in Accra, Ghana working with community members of Nima, a predominantly Muslim immigrant neighborhood. My research focuses on mutually reinforcing themes of language maintenance and place-making as well as how Hausa-speaking immigrants from across West Africa have shaped the linguistic ecology of present-day Accra. In Nima, the community-wide use of Hausa and practice of Islam promote values of hospitality and unity that allow for a diversity of immigrants to feel a sense of belonging.


My research centers on efforts to document and revitalize the Dakota language at Lake Traverse Reservation in northeastern South Dakota. Like most Native American languages, Dakota is highly endangered, with approximately 500 remaining speakers in a population of more than 20,000 people. I have the privilege of participating in efforts to revitalize Dakota in two primary ways. On the one hand, I document playful and poetic genres of speech, which are often neglected in documentary research.


"I am currently based in Wamsok, a remote village in the Prince Alexander Mountains of Papua New Guinea (East Sepik Province). My dissertation draws on 18 months of ethnography and linguistic research in this community, with the goal of describing its endangered speech surrogate system.


My research takes up questions of health, care, and personhood through the lens of linguistic anthropology.


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