Linguistics Speaker Series: Dr. Frederick Erickson, UCLA

Whatever happened to the ethnography of communication, especially regarding listening during speaking?



A special issue of the American Anthropologist  in 1964  sketched a wide field of vision for a new field of social research.  Titled “The ethnography of communcation”  and edited by John Gumperz and Dell Hymes, the articles in the volume ranged from those focusing centrally on speech and verbal artistry,  to one about a group of men sipping beer together through straws while squatting  under a low thatched roof, and another on the social meanings of interpersonal distance in interaction.  I will reflect on this broad conception of ethnography of communication, not just of talk alone, with special attention to the work of my teacher Edward T. Hall,.  He was one of the first to consider the importance of “listening behavior” as a phenomenon of research interest in its own right.  Some aspects of listening activity in relation to what speakers do in speaking will be illustrated with a few video examples from my own work.



From 1998 until 2012 Frederick Erickson was the Inaugural George F. Kneller Professor of Anthropology of Education (now Emeritus), at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was also Professor of Applied Linguistics (now Emeritus).  He previously taught at Harvard University, Michigan State University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he directed its Center for Urban Ethnography.  He is a specialist in the use of video analysis in interactional sociolinguistics and microethnography. His publications include (with Jeffrey J. Shultz) The Counselor as Gatekeeper (1982), and Talk and Social Theory  (2004)  (which received the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award in 2005).  He has also written extensively on qualitative methods in social and educational research. His research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health,  the National Science Foundation,  the National Institute of Education, and the Spencer Foundation, among others. In 2013 the Council on Anthropology and Education of the American Anthropological Association, named its annual Outstanding Dissertation Award in his honor.

Friday, November 21, 2014 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington

Event Type

Academic Events


Georgetown College, Linguistics

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