Resisting and Enregistering Norms in Academic English


Date: Thursday 15 June 2023

Time: 13.00 – 15.00

Location: Kungstenen, Aula Magna

Guest seminar by Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor, Pennsylvania State University. Hosted by the Department of English.


I introduce constructs from linguistic ethnography to help us understand normative “academic English” as a socially constructed and partisan corpus of language. While “academic English” is enregistered as the established way to communicate in academic communication, it is not primordial or neutral. Through the same processes of enregisterment, scholars can resist its power and introduce alternate repertoires for academic communication. We will analyze how the writing of African American scholar Geneva Smitherman engages in this process. Before analyzing short texts from her publications, I will introduce certain terms from linguistic anthropology that will help us: i.e., indexicalization, metapragmatics, co-texts, entextualization, and recontextualization. In our textual analysis, we will consider how Smitherman uses these strategies (intuitively) to gain positive uptake for her corpus from African American Vernacular English in academic communication.

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Flyer:  Suresh Canaqarajah flyer (1991 Kb)