This was the second in a planned series of webinars on Racial Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Linguistics Curriculum.

The webinar took place on Thursday, August 20, 2020, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM EDT.  .

Presenter slides:  Bucholtz          Soudi

Webinar recording

The webinar was ASL-interpreted.

Expanded access to this webinar is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1924593. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the presenters and authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Please read on for a description of the webinar and panelist bios.

Mary Bucholtz (University of Caliornia, Santa Barbara) is a sociocultural linguist with a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity; in addition to her position in the UCSB Department of Linguistics, she is affiliated with the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Feminist Studies, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, the Comparative Literature Program, and the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program.

Bucholtz' research focuses primarily on how social identities and cultural practices are brought into being through linguistic interaction. She has investigated this question in relation to race, gender, and youth identities as well as within the context of how undergraduate science and math students become socialized into scientific cultures through peer interaction.

Her current research seeks to explore the diverse forms of language and culture within California, especially in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate students as well as youth and educational partners in the Santa Barbara area.

Abdesalam Soudi (University of Pittsburgh) is a Lecturer and Internship Program Advisor in the department of Linguistics in the Dietrich School, and a Faculty Fellow with the University of Pittsburgh Honors College. He won the inaugural Diversity in the Curriculum Award in 2017 for his success in creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment; in 2018, he won the first-ever Pitt seed grant award for a proposal to build an engagement platform for connecting linguistics to the tech industry and communities. He led the publication of a special collection on Humanities in Health at Pitt, and he co-edited a volume called Diversity Across the Disciplines in 2020 and has also produced a documentary on the meaning and value of diversity (living and working together). He serves on the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute. He is a member of the Dietrich School Faculty Diversity Committee. He has also served as a Mentor for refugees and immigrants with the Allegheny County Department of Human services. His research interests include sociolinguistics, electronic health records (EHRs), conversation analysis, Arabic linguistics and cultural and linguistic diversity. 






Bucholtz:  Teaching for a just and inclusive linguistics

Precipitated by the murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans, educational institutions across the United States have been forced into a long-overdue acknowledgment and remediation of structural racism and exclusion. Such an undertaking is especially urgently needed in linguistics, a discipline whose long history of white supremacy has made it particularly unwelcoming of members of racialized and otherwise minoritized groups (Charity Hudley, Mallinson, & Bucholtz, forthcoming). To reinvent linguistics as an anti-racist and inclusive discipline requires a wholesale rethinking of every aspect of our work, from teaching to research to professional practice.

Creating a more justice and inclusive linguistics must begin in our classrooms, where the next generation of scholars and educators in the field will emerge. In this presentation, I will outline some of the fundamental issues that linguistics educators must consider as we work to center our students' languages, cultures, lived experiences, and learning needs in our classes. The presentation addresses a series of basic questions, such as:
- Why does inclusion in linguistics matter?
- What does structural exclusion mean--and what doesn't it mean?
- What does inclusive teaching involve?
- What and whom does inclusion include?
- What are some of the pitfalls as we work toward inclusive teaching?
- What can institutions do to transform the discipline through inclusive teaching?
My discussion is informed the patience, generosity, and expertise of many colleagues and students, past and present, who daily confront the exclusionary practices of linguistics in their own professional lives. My presentation also incorporates what I have learned from my own ongoing and mistake-filled efforts as a white linguist trying to learn to be less racist.

Soudi: Building inclusive linguistics classrooms: Empowerment, engagement in cross-disciplinary training and cultural self-examination 

The current pandemic and protests regarding racial injustice have changed the face of higher education, but in doing so, have stimulated the re-imagination of college communities and how we create inclusive learning environments and empower our students. Our goal, even more than in the past, is to help our students reflect to lead lives of change and impact and engage with communities. As we are more physically distant and reflecting on the wide gaps that separate us, it is crucial that we work to create formal structure and space devoted to discovering deeper connections, building bridges, and learning about each other’s lives to create a safe, healthy, just, and inclusive environment for our students. Our methods need to adapt to support a wide variety of students. Just as university classrooms have changed, so too has the world beyond the classroom’s walls.  

In my part of the webinar, I will highlight linked aspects of my teaching since 2005 that support 1) personalized education of linguistics students through cross disciplinary training and integration of knowledge with real life issues to stimulate creative and innovative approaches and ideas, 2) the creation of a diverse, inclusive, and empowering class tailored to students’ specific goals and needs, 3) encouraging socially responsible engagement outside the classroom to develop collaboration, teamwork, critical thinking, and communication skills 4) training students to engage in cultural self-examination of their own experiences that influence their world view, beliefs and attitudes, to encourage empathy for others, and critically examine their own biases, linguistic choices, and understanding of diversity.  

These skills are valuable for everyone, and can help us create a closer, more just, more caring community. I have used the above techniques in my classes with great success. The information I share is inspired by my upbringing in an underserved village in the south of Morocco, lived experiences as a Muslim immigrant in the US,  as well as my teaching experiences as a professor of  linguistics, co-director of a master’s level cultural competency course for medical professionals, the founder and director of the linguistics internship program at Pitt, and primary investigator in a Pitt seed grant about the humanities at work in the community, health and tech industries.