Language of Racism Symposium

About the Symposium

Welcome to The Language of Racism Symposium at CC Webpage!

The Language of Racism (LoR) Symposium was originally scheduled to take place in April 2020 as a pre-conference event for the Society for Linguistic Anthropology Spring Conference. Both events were postponed due to COVID-19. As we awaited the new dates for these events, the CC Department of Anthropology and the CC Linguistics program hosted a Language of Racism Webinar Series. The LoR Symposium took place on April 6th, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado, on the site of the LSA Spring Conference. Colorado College community members participated in the symposium virtually and in person. The CC Department of Anthropology is happy to share the Language of Racism scholarly presentations on this page for continued discussion as we plan for a Language of Racism Symposium on the CC campus in the near future. 

About the Symposium

The Language of Racism Symposium in Tribute to Jane H. Hill brought together four scholars to present on and discuss the role that language plays in the production and reproduction of everyday racism. Symposium speakers addressed the influence of linguist and anthropologist Jane H. Hill, author of The Everyday Language of White Racism, on their own antiracist and social justice-oriented scholarship. The symposium speakers were Norma Mendoza-Denton (UCLA Anthropology, author of Homegirls: Language and Cultural Practice Among Latina Youth Gangs), Elaine Chun (University of South Carolina English Language and Literature, contributor to Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race), John Baugh (Washington University Arts and Sciences, author of Linguistics in Pursuit of Justice), and Jacqueline Messing (University of Maryland Anthropology, contributor to Indigenous Language Revitalization in the Americas).

About Jane H. Hill

Jane H. Hill was a renowned linguist and four-field anthropologist whose interdisciplinary work contributed to various fields and areas of scholarship including the comparative grammar of Uto-Aztecan languages, the evolutionary foundations of language, nonhuman primate communication, cognitive linguistics, language and worldview, early cultivation, and migration in the Americas, language loss and endangered languages, language and power, the political economy of language, and the language of racism. Regarding her work, Hill stated, "I attempt a precarious balancing act among diverse commitments: to the detailed documentation of languages and cultures and specialized expertise in technical tools such as comparative linguistic analysis, to the understanding of the scope and diversity of human history that is the glory of anthropology, and to using what I learn to advance social justice and mutual respect among human beings." Drawing on Hill's insights on discourse and racism, anthropologist Shalini Shankar has called for linguistic scholars to explore the potential of linguistic scholarship to address racism and social injustice (Shankar 2016). Jane Hill, Regents' Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Arizona, passed away on November 2nd, 2018. This symposium honors Hill's critical contribution to the still-emerging field of the language of racism, or raciolinguistics, and provides an opportunity for scholars to address racial injustices perpetrated in everyday language use and language policy.

About the Presentations

The following video lectures by Dr. Christina Leza (Colorado College Department of Anthropology) and Dr. Adam Hodges (CU Boulder Department of Linguistics), review some of Hill's critical concepts related to racism and language with examples from original research. The student presentations are final project presentations by students in the CC Anthropology class The Language of Racism, Anthropology 312.

Webinar Series Speakers

The Language of Racism Symposium was postponed in 2020 due to COVID. A Language of Racism Webinar Series was held in 2020-21 with the following speakers as we waited and planned for the in-person symposium.

Dr. Adrienne Lo


Dr. Alex Chavez


William Anderson


Dr. Jonathan Rosa


Key Concepts in the Language of Racism

Dr. Christina Leza, Colorado College - An Introduction to Key Concepts in the Language of Racism

Dr. Adam Hodges, University of Colorado Boulder - Language & Racism


Student Projects

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