Ryan Schram's Anthrocyclopaedia

Anthropology presentations and learning resources

User Tools

Site Tools


Week 9—The signs of a race

Week 9—The signs of a race

Main reading: Reyes (2017b); Reyes (2017a)

Other reading: Bucholtz and Hall (2005); Chumley (2017); Rosa and Flores (2017); Smalls (2020)

We turn to a new question that builds on our past discussions of the politics of linguistic difference. To say that race is a meaningful social distinction in this and every other society would seem to suggest that it is like gender or nationality, that is, another kind of otherness that is opposed to the dominant conception of the person. But race is a kind of difference that people want to believe is based in the body and in one’s nature. When differences are racialized, it means our bodies are taken as signs for other people, and these bodily signs are taken are more real and more true than anything else we do. How does this process of racialization happen? What are the consequences for societies given that they are necessarily diverse and yet these differences are often highly racialized?


Bucholtz, Mary, and Kira Hall. 2005. “Identity and Interaction: A Sociocultural Linguistic Approach.” Discourse Studies 7 (4-5): 585–614. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445605054407.

Chumley, Lily. 2017. “Qualia and Ontology: Language, Semiotics, and Materiality; an Introduction.” Signs and Society 5 (S1): S1–20. https://doi.org/10.1086/690190.

Reyes, Angela. 2017a. “Ontology of Fake: Discerning the Philippine Elite.” Signs and Society 5 (S1): S100–127. https://doi.org/10.1086/690067.

———. 2017b. “Inventing Postcolonial Elites: Race, Language, Mix, Excess.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 27 (2): 210–31. https://doi.org/10.1111/jola.12156.

Rosa, Jonathan, and Nelson Flores. 2017. “Unsettling Race and Language: Toward a Raciolinguistic Perspective.” Language in Society 46 (5): 621–47. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404517000562.

Smalls, Krystal A. 2020. “Race, Signs, and the Body: Towards a Theory of Racial Semiotics.” In The Oxford Handbook of Language and Race, edited by H. Samy Alim, Angela Reyes, and Paul V. Kroskrity, 231–60. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190845995.013.15.

3621/2024/9.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/15 23:13 by Ryan Schram (admin)