New NSF grant: Linguistic Production, Perception, and Identity in the Career Mobility of Black Faculty in Linguistics and the Language Sciences

I am so thrilled to share this news about my new collaborative NSF grant, “Linguistic Production, Perception, and Identity in the Career Mobility of Black Faculty in Linguistics and the Language Sciences”! In the spirit of NSF’s Build & Broaden program, Anne Charity Hudley and I are convening a stellar network of Black scholars in linguistics and the language sciences from MSIs and PWIs across the country to jointly produce and expand research and inclusion work in our fields. We are so thrilled for this new project and the partnerships it brings!

Here is the official summary of the project:

This mixed-methodological study examines how Black faculty in the language sciences and related areas linguistically navigate their professional experiences. Black faculty are skilled at navigating between varieties of English, with strong perceptual linguistic abilities and linguistic flexibility. At the same time, linguistic inequalities may cause Black faculty to experience the structural realities of racism through the continuous evaluation of their language. These findings will yield insight into how language discrimination plays a role in the systemic underrepresentation of Black scholars in academia and how language plays a role in those processes. The study also examines professional inequalities for Black scholars in the language sciences and related areas to provide precise data that language researchers can use to broaden participation in linguistics departments and programs.

The study uses a community-based participatory approach that includes ten junior and mid-career scholars from Minority Serving (MSIs) and Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) as research partners. The study uses interviews, focus groups, and survey to reach additional 100 Black faculty. The main questions that the study asks are: How and when do Black faculty in linguistics and the language sciences use Black language practices in higher education? How has their linguistic use affected their academic participation and career mobility? The study tests and refines the linguistic model of language subordination by measuring the impacts of both structural and internalized racism on language choice. The study builds on the Co-PI’s prior work that examined the linguistic choices of Black undergraduates by analyzing how students variably express racial identity while navigating linguistic expectations in academic settings. This study will take a similar approach, incrementally extending theoretical and empirical models to address these dynamics facing Black faculty, adding much-needed nuance to the model regarding Black scholars while testing the applicability of linguistic models used in education to adult professionals.

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