For millennia, lamenting – expressing grief through crying songs, often in a collective ritual context – both sustained and challenged communities around the world. Like all artistic processes, it at once defines and transforms humanity’s deepest feelings. In recent centuries, however, communities that once joined together in lament have rejected it, in apparent shame. Building on ethnographic fieldwork and extensive historical evidence, Crying Shame analyzes lament across thousands of years and nearly every continent, illustrating human commonalities and cultural diversity. The book thus offers a new perspective on modernity and postmodernity by demonstrating their fundamental relationship to lament.
Language is a means we use to communicate feelings; we also reflect emotionally on the language we and others use. James M. Wilce analyzes the signals people use to express emotion, looking at the social, cultural, and political functions of emotional language around the world. The book demonstrates that speaking, feeling, reflecting, and identifying are interrelated processes and shows how emotions such as desire and shame are attached to language. Drawing on nearly 100 ethnographic case studies, it demonstrates the cultural diversity, historical emergence, and political significance of emotional language. Wilce brings together insights from linguistics and anthropology to survey an extremely broad range of genres, cultural concepts, and social functions of emotional expression.
and Cultural Lives of Immune Systems J. Wilce, Editor). New
Social and Cultural Lives of Immune Systems introduces
a provocative new hypothesis in medico-social theory – the theory
that immunity and disease are in part socially constituted, and that
immune systems function not just as biological entities but also as symbolic
concepts charged with political significance. Bridging elements of
psychology, sociology, body theory, immunology and medical anthropology,
twelve papers from leading international scholars explicate some of the
health-hazards of emotional and social pressure, whilst analysing the semiotic
and social responses to immunity and to imagery associated with it. Is
it possible, as some experts now claim, that the terminology of immunity,
dependent upon the defense of the self from invasion by an alien other,
has entered modern consciousness to a point where it serves as a metaphor
and indicator of wider political realities? If oneís social status
immune competence, can health interventions avoid taking poverty
and discrimination into account? Can immunological rhetoric genuinely be
shown to affect operations as diverse as military action, crime policy,
international food distribution? If
this is the case, what conclusions can be drawn from the fact that
tactics of disclosure, emotional openness and inclusion are clinically
proven to boost immunity, whereas division, denial and containment – apparently
modeled on the activities of immune cells – ironically raise susceptibility
Social and Cultural Lives of Immune Systems features
contributions from David Napier, Emily Martin, Daniel E. Moerman and others
alongside critical data from trauma-writing interventions in the US and
New Zealand, European drug trials, US clinical practice and global fieldwork
on stress, status, and cultural capital. Possibly the first cultural
analysis of embodiment to give close attention to immune function, and
certainly one of the first studies of immunology, disease and healing to
look seriously at concepts of the social self, it offers a comprehensive
framework for future study in an exciting new area.
Eloquence in Trouble: The Poetics and Politics of Complaint in Rural Bangladesh. New York: Oxford University Press.
Eloquence in Trouble captures the articulation of several troubled lives in Bangladesh as well as the threats to the very genres of their expression, lament in particular. The first ethnography of one of the most spoken mother tongues on earth, Bangla, this study represents a new approach to troubles talk, combining the rigor of discourse analysis with the interpretive depth of psychological anthropology. Its careful transcriptions of Bangladeshi troubles talk will disturb some readers and move others--beyond past academic discussion of personhood in South Asia.
Now available in paperback
Eloquence in Trouble captures the articulation of several troubled lives
in Bangladesh as well as the threats to the very genres of their expression,
lament in particular. The first ethnography of one of the most spoken mother
tongues on earth, Bangla, this study represents a new approach to troubles
talk, combining the rigor of discourse analysis with the interpretive depth
of psychological anthropology. Its careful transcriptions of Bangladeshi
troubles talk will disturb some readers and move others--beyond past academic
discussion of personhood in South Asia.
abstract of the book
table of contents
ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS
in submission Karelian itkukieli as honorific register. Current Anthropology.
2011 “Voice” or “Sound” in Two Contemporary Finnish Healing Modalities. Medical Anthropology and Bioethics [Moscow] 1(1).
2010 Society, Language, History, and Religion: A Perspective from Linguistic Anthropology. In The Sociology of Language and Religion: Change, Conflict and Accommodation, T. Omoniyi ,ed. Pp. 126-155. Palgrave/Macmillan
2009 Medical Discourse. Annual Review of Anthropology 38(1):199-215.
2008 Scientizing Bangladeshi Psychiatry: Parallelism, Enregisterment, and the Cure for a Magic Complex. Language in Society 37(1):91–114.
2006a Magical Laments and Anthropological Reflections: The Production and Circulation of Anthropological Text as Ritual Activity. Current Anthropology 47(6): 891-914.
2006b The Grammar of Politics and the Politics of Grammar: From Bangladesh to the U.S. In A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication: Essential Reading. J. Goodman and L. Monaghan, eds. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
the Wikipedia entry on Linguistic Anthropology that I authored in May 2006
(which, given the nature of Wikipedia, may or may not have been edited
by others at the time you see it).
laments and postmodern regrets: The circulation of discourse in metacultural
context. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology (special issue, Discourse
across speech events: Intertextuality and interdiscursivity in social life).
This paper locates laments in intertextual chains and explores them in
relation four facets of interdiscursivity— 1) laments' own
tendency to include reported speech and 2) to echo previous laments, 3)
classificatory discourse about laments, and 4) the (local or global) orientation
of such metadiscourses. The paper traces intertextual links between traditional
laments and postmodern mourning, and explores lamentsí nonlinguistic,
gestural, melodic modes of textuality.
2005b Narrative Transformations: Emotion, Language,
and Globalization. Companion to Psychological Anthropology. Conerly
Casey and Robert Edgerton, eds. Oxford, Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Narrative is changing globally. Stories, genres, and languages themselves
shift. The relevance of such change to psychological anthropology may be
clearest vis-à-vis emotional genres like lament, but new communicative
forms are shaping shared subjectivities—widely shared identities.
These shifts putatively reflect a grand narrative—the meta-story
we call modernity. A limited version of this claim is embraced, based on
evidence that newer forms of narrative participation can fit the so-called
age of the spectacle.
2004a Madness, fear,
and control in Bangladesh: Clashing bodies of knowledge-power. For Medical
Anthropology Quarterly special issue on Illness and Illusions of Control.
This article presents an understanding of how Bangladeshis cope with madness
in relation to two assumptions—that systems of knowledge and of power
are coterminous, and that actors in medical encounters draw on incompatible
bodies of knowledge-power. I present two data sets to illumine tensions
between various attempts to control the fears associated with schizophrenia.
The first is a set of exchanges in the advice column of a new popular psychiatry
magazine in Bangladesh in which the editors inculcate new perspectives
on self. The letters signal writersí fears of what might in the
end be impossible to control. The second data set is four videotapes of
persons diagnosed with schizophrenia, interacting with families and/or
psychiatrists. The article focuses on cases where—in part
because of knowledge-power asymmetries—attempts at controlling fears
surrounding schizophrenia fail to address the depths, tacitness, embodiment,
and narrative embedding of anxieties experienced by all parties. [schizophrenia,
psychiatric discourse, modernity, power, Bangladesh]
2004b Language and Madness. Companion to Linguistic
Anthropology. Alessandro Duranti, ed. Oxford, Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Madness includes linguistic (particularly pragmatic) deviance. We find
two troubling stances in popular and scholarly discourse. 1) Blaming the
mad for breakdowns in interactions central to human experience dehumanizes
them. 2) Treating diagnostic labels and institutional interactions as forms
of psychiatric power constitutive of madness overly politicize madness.
A synthesis is proposed: if madness problematizes interaction yet reflects
social environments as much as neurons, linguistic anthropologists can
offer new ways to analyze speech environments that help or exacerbate madness.
Scholarship: Recent Anthropologies of Emotion. Reviews in Anthropology 33:
2004d To “Speak Beautifully” in Bangladesh: Subjectivity as Pagalami
In Schizophrenia, Culture, and Subjectivity: The Edge of Experience. Janis Jenkins and Robert Barrett, eds. Pp. 196-218. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2002 Genres of Memory and The Memory of Genres: "Forgetting" Lament
in Bangladesh. Comparative Studies in Society and History 44
This article seeks to place lament in the context of Asian modernities,
theorize memory in relation to genres of performance, and introduce the
notion of social technologies of forgetting. Evidence suggests that Bangladeshi
culture is changing in ways congruent with some models of globalizing modernity.
Indeed, my data indicate that displacing certain performance genres may
be key to modernist transformation. Yet, several persons I describe here
endured hardship over several years to continue performing genres their
neighbors deemed dated or sacrilegious. This problematizes teleological
visions of the progress of a monolithic modernity stamping out older expressive
2001 Divining TROUBLES or diVINing troubles? Gender,
conflict, and polysemy in Bangladeshi divination. Anthropological
Quarterly. 74 (4): 190-199.
Divination is more dialogical than some diviners or anthropologists have
made it appear. I analyze the transcript of one Bangladeshi divination
event, comparing it with a dozen others performed by one diviner, Delwar,
revealing how tenuously he manages to assign a single meaning to troubles,
especially when clients openly compare his declarations with their intimate
knowledge of those troubles. I explain how divinations could appear to
be texts rather than emergent products of interaction. Diviners entextualize
their declamations, doing their best to keep context at bay. Anthropologists
who concentrate on textual products of divination— like Delwarís
declamations—have made divination appear to enable groups to manage
conflicts by transcending personal intentionality. Such representations
elide troublesome interactive processes in which declamations emerge, meet
potential rejection by clients, and are always vulnerable to recontextualization
as clients might return to the diviner as events shift their perception
of earlier divinationsí accuracy. [divination, dialogism, entexualization,
conflict, South Asia]
Poetics of Madness: Shifting Codes and Styles in the Linguistic Construction
of Identity in Bangladesh. Cultural Anthropology 15 (1):
The speech of the so-called "mad" is itself rendered a "symptom" of
madness in Bangladesh as in the West as described by Foucault, though sympathetic
explorations of the particular semiotics and poetics of mad speech have
recently appeared (Ribeiro 1994, Desjarlais 1997, Wilce 1998b). This paper
explores an undertheorized dimension of the poetics of mad speech: the
highlighting of cultural paradoxes, the explicit topicalization of multiple
identities, the playful switching of footings and even codes in speech
that— in its form and content— challenges dominant discourses.
This evidence arises from accounts or transcripts of the speech of several
persons in Bangladesh to whom the label "mad" may be self-applied
(in two cases) or perhaps (in another case) desired but unapplied. This
discursive evidence from Bangladesh is compared with Desjarlaisís
account of discursive styles used in a Boston shelter for the homeless
mentally ill. The paper calls for increased attention to the speech—and
particularly the codeswitching— of the so-called mad as a site of
that multivocality that celebrates folk life and resists the hegemony of
the symbolic order (Kristeva 1980).
1998/ Edited collection: "Communicating Multiple Identities in Muslim
Communities," special issue of Ethos Volume 26, No. 2, 1998.
1998 The Kalima in the Kaleidoscope:
Snapshots of the Swirl of Muslims' Identities in Contemporary Bangladesh.
For special issue of Ethos 26(2): 229-257.
Bengal has long heard discussions of the relative priority of religion,
ideology, ethnicity, literary heritage, and translocal affiliations in "Bengali" (or,
more recently, "Bangladeshi") identity. Rather than taking "Bengali" or "Muslim" identities
as given, this paper explores the construction and invocation of multiple
identities by Bangladeshis. These plural identities have at times been
played out as harmonious, at other times as competing and conflicting.
The thriving market in identities crosscuts Bangladeshi society but, more
interestingly, crosscuts individuals' discourse. I describe several recent
discourses as contemporary sites of identity ferment in Bangladesh: a letter
to the editor of an English newspaper, a meeting between a businessman
who is also a pir (Sufi preceptor) and his cosmopolitan disciples, the
heated words swirling around doctor and writer Taslima Nasrin, a lament
by a rural woman which appeals to the authority of her schoolteachers but
also Islamic imagery, and the nasalized speech of spirits and muezzin.
The voices I cite agree in some sense by affirming the kalima of Islam,
bearing witness to belief in the creed. On the other hand, voices distributed
not only across Bangladeshi society but across even a given act of speaking
or writing bear witness to the complexity underlying the unifying affirmation
of Muslim identity. The poetics of Soviet literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin
will be used to analyze the way these words, as signs of identity, borrow
meaning from a variety of Others and contribute to new kaleidoscopic transformations
of the meaning of being Bengali and Muslim.
1998 The Pragmatics of "Madness":
Performance Analysis of a Bangladeshi Woman's "Aberrant" Lament. Culture,
Medicine, and Psychiatry 22(1): 1-54.
A fine-grained analysis of the transcript of a Bangladeshi woman's lament
is used to argue for an anthropology of "madness" attending closely
to performance and performativity. The sensitivity of this proposed approach
to linguistic ideologies has reflexive ramifications for medical and psychological
1997 Discourse, Power, and the Diagnosis
of Weakness: Encountering Practitioners in Bangladesh. Medical Anthropology
Quarterly 11/3: 1-23.
The author's experiences as "patient" of nonbiomedical practitioners-
and an examination of Bangladeshis' encounters with practitioners (daaktaar,
herbalist, exorcist, and diviner)- reveal the interactive means by which
the diagnosis of durbalataa ("weakness") is constructed. In the
cases presented, facing power in the person of the practitioner means losing
face. It is argued that discursive phenomena above and below the lexical
level are responsible. The phenomena described- 1) interruption or dismissal
of the patient's words by practitioners and others present during the clinical
encounter, 2) divinatory routines that assign the durbalataa label to women,
and 3) one patient's use of "creaky" voice quality in a strictly "popular
sector" (domestic) encounter - are non-referential but socially significant
semiotic processes that operate, for the most part, beneath the level of
discursive awareness. These encounters and their outcomes have more to
do with social reproduction than with any unambiguously effective therapeutic
outcome. [doctor-patient discourse, social construction of illness, language
and cognition, semiotics, Bangladesh]
Role of Iconicity in Imagining Community: The Play of Tropes in a Rural
Bangladeshi Moot. Accepted for publication, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.
Of the two forms of iconism described by Peirce, the "diagram" is
less accessible to discursive consciousness. Such cognitive limits are
exploited when a particular form of "syntactic iconicity" (Haiman
1985b)- the reduplicated verb ma\ra\ma\ri , "mutual beating, group
fighting"- is put to service in the rhetoric of a rural Bangladeshi
moot. The result is a particular imagination of community in which, in
order to project the parties whose conflict the moot must sort out as a
community, the primary form of their social engagement iconically projected
by one dominant speaker is "mutual fighting." The limits on awareness
(Silverstein 1981) which seem to be exploited in this moot are to be understood
not only in purely semiotic terms but also in terms of the way rhetoric
or political oratory is peculiarly expert in hiding its own "rhetoricity" (Bloch
1975, Herzfeld 1988).
1995 Diglossia, religion, and ideology: On the mystification of
cross-cutting aspects of Bengali language variation.
Studies of diachronic and synchronic variation in the Bengali language
reveal cross-cutting dimensions- (1) linguistic indexing of religio-communal
identities, and (2) diglossia. Unfortunately, these are treated by two
sets of scholars in non-overlapping literatures. Bengal historians treating
language cite metalinguistic descriptors such as bhasa yabani misal, dobhasi,
and sadhu bhasa in describing competing attempts at sectarian
co-optation of Bengali language and culture, while linguists focusing on
twentieth-century Bengali have sometimes described the sociolinguistic
situation as "diglossic." Sociolinguistic studies give us no
reason to suspect religio-communal identity or matters of ideology per
se had any more relevance to Bengali diglossia than they had in those defining
situations (Arabic, Swiss German, Greek, Haitian Creole/French) originally
described by Ferguson (1959). This paper attempts to redress the problems
entailed in these parallel academic monologues by exploring how communally-freighted
linguistic differences are related to differences previously associated
with class and literacy. Competing evaluations of various forms of Bengali
are treated in terms of "linguistic ideologies." This research
frame creates two linkages: between facts of sociolinguistic variation
and the academic discourses which partly mystify those facts, and between
Bengali and other language situations treated in the literature on linguistic
an electronic copy of the paper
1995 "I Cannot Tell You All My Troubles":
Conflict, Resistance, and Metacommunication in Bangladeshi Illness
Ethnologist 22(4): 927-952.
Transcripts of interactions between patients, kin and healers open up
the lives of four "patients" in Matlab, Bangladesh. I compare
the pattern of domination and resistance in those interactions with Western
biomedical encounters. Patients in Matlab express dissatisfaction with
the power relations of family or medicine through low-level means which
do not enter discursive consciousness. By indirectly calling attention
to the suppression of their voices, patients' metacomplaints-- a species
of metacommunication evident in two of the interactions-- entail an incipient
Other Publications and Papers:
1994 Repressed Eloquence:Patients as Subjects and Objects of Complaints
in Matlab, Bangladesh. Doctoral dissertation, University of California,
This dissertation explores how power and personhood are constructed within
complaint interactions and lament performances. I describe how ideologies
of language are brought to bear in these events. During fleldwork in Matlab,
Bangladesh I participated in the daily life of an extended family, observing
how members made and responded to complaints. I also observed medical interactions
at pharmacies and clinics. Of same of these speech events, including trance-possession/healing
performances but primarily everyday interactions in domestic or medical
settings, I made audio and/or video recordings. Twenty lengthy recorded
excerpts have been transcribed with the help of native-speaker conaultants
both in Bangladesh and in Los Angeles. For over a hundred other complaint
interactions, mainly domestic, I have detailed fieldnotes with verbatim
transcripts made from memory. I present and analyze transcripts from tapes
in the tradition of ethnographic discourse and conversation analysis. The
larger body of "ethnographic" transcripts, and a corpus of
records ICCDR,B collected on hundreds of visits to one of its women's clinics,
I subject to quantitative analysis using sociolinguistic and social-demographic
methods, reapectively. I also consider the function of complaint patterns
as they evolve within a given interaction and over the course of a diatress
or illness event.
My expectation that Bangladeshi "patients" would use somatic
complaints to voice other concerns was confirmed, but my pre-field understanding
of the way "self-assertion" mapped onto complaints, including
the specifics of complaint form (e.g. pronoun usage) had to be significantly
modified. Complaints in Bangladesh mediate in the complex and sometimes
tense negotiative construction of self and other, a process made still
more problematic in the cross-currents of social change. Some patients
interacting with kin or with practitioners voiced "metacomplaints" -
indicationa that something was wrong with the complaint-interactive process
itself. I found that recipients heard and reflected on complaints selectively
and that this selectivity is usefully seen as ideological. My focus on
how competing ideologies of language are manifested or invoked by the various
participants extends language-ideological theory into the medical domain
and adds to the medical-anthropological literature on conflictual aspects
of illness and healing.
Review of Talking Heads (by Benjamin Lee). American Anthropologist.
Review of Shelter Blues (by R. Desjarlais). Journal of Linguistic
Review of Caste, Protest, and Identity in Colonial India: The Namasudras
of Bengal, 1972-1947. (by S. Bandyopadhyay). South Asia.
1998 Review of Grammar, Language, and Society:
Contemporary Indian Contributions (R. Singh, ed.). Contemporary
South Asia 7(3): 379-380.
1998 Review of The state, class formation, and
development in Bangladesh (by S.M. Shamsul Alam). Contemporary
South Asia 7(1): 93-94.
1994 Review of: All the Mothers are One: Hindu India and the cultural
reshaping of psychoanalysis (S. N. Kurtz). Anthropology UCLA 21: 118-120.
1994 Review of: Purity and communal boundaries: Women and social
change in a Bangladeshi village (Santi Rozario). American Ethnologist 21(4):
1992 Review of: Language and the politics of emotion (C. Lutz and
L. Abu-Lughod, eds.). Language in Society 21(1): 132-136.
1989 Analysis of a Paharia Folktale: The Jackal Story. Anthropology
UCLA, 16(1): 35-59.
1983 Caste and class among South Asian Muslims: Changing patterns
of identity and ideology. Unpublished MA Critique, Claremont Graduate School.
Conference Papers and Presentations and Invited Lectures:
2010 The Revival of Karelian Lament: New Hypotheses, Unanswe3red Questtions (Research Seminar, Folkloristics Department, Helsinki University), May 28, 2010
2010 Registering Change, Enregistering Authenticity: Competing Claims to the Finno-Ugrian ‘Lament Language’ in a ‘Lament Revival,Colloquium Series, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, February 8, 2010.
2009 (with Heidi Haapoja) Registering change, enregistering authenticity: Competing claims to the Finno-Ugrian “lament language” in a “lament revival” 108th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, December 5, 2009.
2008 Crying Shame: Metaculture, Modernity, and the Exaggerated Death of Lament (Research Seminar, Folkloristics Department, Helsinki University), September 23, 2008.
2008 Research Methods in Linguistic Anthropology,” Seminar in Research Methods, Anthropology Department, Helsinki University), October 1, 2008.
2008 Invited Keynote Speaker “Affect at the Interface: Biology, Culture, and the Human,” University of Western Sydney, Australia, June 21-22.
2008 The emergence of psychiatric Bangla: Magic, science, and globalization. “Globality, locality, and contact: Language and culture.” Conference sponsored by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 17-18 November 2008
2007 Scientizing Psychiatry: Conjuring Linguistic Fixes for Psychiatry’s Magic Complex. Paper presented at the 30th International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Padua, Italy, June 29, 2007.
2006 Finnish Cultural Festivals in Finland and North America: Local and Nonlocal Nostalgias. Paper presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Jose, CA, November 19, 2006.
2006 Äänelläitkijät: Finno-Karelian Lament and The Modernity of Tradition. Paper presented at Canadian Finnish Grand Festival, Thunder Bay, Ontario, July 14-16, 2006.
2006 Divining Troubles: Divination as Interaction in Bangladesh. Paper presented at the Twelfth Annual Conference on Language, Interaction, and Culture, UCLA, May 25-27, 2006.
2006 Shame and Unequal Looking Relations: On Display on the Global Stage. Paper presented at Invited Colloquium, Decolonizing Affect Theory, Green College, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, June 25-27, 2006.
2005 Invited Lecture, Globalized States for Linguistic
Performance: Baptizing New Frames, Inducing New Shame. University of California,
San Diego. Linguistic Anthropology Colloquium Series. April 27, 2005.
2004 Invited Lecture, Social and Cultural Lives
of Immune Systems. Arizona State University. School of Life Sciences Seminar
Series. Sepatember 10, 2004.
2003 Invited Scholar, LíŠcole des
Hautes Študes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France, May 15-June 15,
2003. Lecture titles: 1) Semiotic and Cultural Processes: The Micro-Embodiments
and Global Flows of Signs , 2) Crying Shame: Global Flows of Discourse
Transforming Expressive Genres , 3) Communalism and Madness,
4) Interactive Synchrony, and Its Discontents: Ethnographic Studies
of Embodied Interaction (The Semiotics of Madness) (presented at Laboratoire
díAnthropologie Sociale, College de France).
2003 Linguistic Anthropology Methods: Semiotics
and Cultural Context. Brown Bag Lecture for NAU Applied Linguistics,
January 22, 2003.
2002 NAU Post-Sabbatical Talk/Anthropology Colloquium: Culture
is Dead! Long Live Metaculture!. December 2, 2002.
2002 Crying Shame: Lament Genres, Modern
Sensibilities, and Metacultural Globalization. Distinguished Lecture
in Anthropology, Pomona College, March, 2002.
2002 Crying Shame: Lament Genres, Modern
Sensibilities, and Metacultural Globalization. Invited lecture, Anthropology
Colloquium, University of Chicago, Feb. 18, 2002.
2001 Crying Shame: Global Flows of Discourse Transforming
Genres of Grief. Invited lecture, Medical Anthropology and
Cultural Psychiatry Research Seminar (2001-02 Series, ìPsychiatry
and Rationalityî), Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical
School. November 17, 2001.
2001 Invited participant in the Inaugural Symposium
for New Research on Culture-Brain Interactions, sponsored by Foundation
for Psycho-Cultural Research), Ojai, CA, June 28-July 1.
1999 Intersubjectivity and Its Discontents:
Eloquence in Trouble. Invited Colloquium. Department
of Anthropology, University of California, Davis. Nov. 8, 1999.
1999 Attunement and Its Discontents: The Body
as Target and Mediator of Ideologies of Semiosis. Cardiff University
Roundtable: Discourses of the Body. June 9-11, 1999.
1998 / Attunement and its Discontents: Language Ideologies in the
Face of Madness in Bangladesh (Paper Presented in Philadelphia at American
Anthropological Association Meetings.) Go
directly to the paper.
Go to transcript (page 1)
Go to transcript (page 2)
1996 / Language and Consciousness: Lessons from Political and Medical
Discourses. Seminar paper presented at the Center for Social Studies, Dhaka
University, July 21, 1996.
1995 The Kalima in the Kaleidoscope: Snapshots of the Swirl of
Muslims' Identities in Contemporary Bangladesh. Paper presented at the
American Anthropological Association meetings, in the panel "Communicating
Multiple Identities in Muslim Communities," (organized and chaired
1995 Diglossia, religion, and ideology: On the mystification of
cross-cutting aspects of Bengali language variation. Paper presented at
the Bengal Studies Conference, University of Chicago, May 1995.
1994 Facing power and losing face: Patients' encounters with practitioners
in Bangladesh. Paper presented at the dually invited session (SMA/SLA)
on Medical Discourse, American Anthropological Association, Atlanta, GA.
1994 "Body" themes in the body politic: Rhetoric in a rural
Bangladeshi moot. Paper presented at South Asian Language Analysis Roundtable
XVI ("Languages in Contact"), University of Pennsylvania, May
1993 The aesthetics of complaining: Conflicting values in a rural
Bangladeshi illness performance. Presented in the Society for Medical Anthropology's
invited session on "Aesthetics, power, and medicine" at the 92nd
annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Washington,
1992 "I cannot tell you all my troubles": Health complaints
as social action in Matlab, Bangladesh. Presented at the 91st annual meeting
of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, Dec. 2.
1991 "The whole body hurts" : Social support and a health complaint
in a Bengali household. Presented at the 4th International Conference on
Social Psychology and Language, Santa Barbara, CA, Aug. 5.
1990 Analysis of a Paharia Folktale: The Jackal Story. Presented
at the 12th South Asian Language Analysis Roundtable, Berkeley, CA., June
2008-present Fieldwork in Finland (Re-Sounding Voices: "Healing with Lament" in the Contemporary Finnish Lament Revival. Funded by the National Science Foundation. (BCS-0822512).
and January) Fieldwork and videotaping in Bangladesh in collaboration
with Dhaka psychiatrists on the topics of: schizophrenia; stress, globalization,
and culture change; and mother-child interaction.
1997 Fieldwork in New York City and Merced,
California on the management of bereavement and maintenance of cultural
traditions among Bangladeshi, Haitian and Hmong immigrants.
1996 Fieldwork in Matlab, Bangladesh in
cooperation with the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research,
Bangladesh. Sociolinguistic and ethnolinguistic investigation of
laments and related genres of verbal performance.
1991-1992 Fieldwork in Matlab, Bangladesh in cooperation with the International
Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh. "The patient as
linguist agent: Health complaints in rural Bangladesh."
1990-1991 Research associate for Dr. Allen Johnson, Chair, Department
of Anthropology. Cross-cultural study of Oedipal myths: Literature searches,
compilation of myths, coding of myths and sociocultural variables, statistical
analysis using SAS-PC.
1989 Fieldwork in Los Angeles among Bengali speakers: Recording
naturally-occurring conversations, training transcribers, conducting interviews.
1976 Linguistic fieldwork near Cap Haitien, Haiti (June- August).