Adam Harr (Ph.D. University of Virginia) I am interested in how social change is reflected in and precipitated by people’s use of different languages. Since 2002, I have conducted thirty-two months of field research in multilingual communities in the highlands of central Flores, an island in eastern Indonesia. People in these communities speak the Indonesian national language in addition to the Lio language, one of several hundred languages in Indonesia that are classified as “local” or “tribal” languages. My central research questions have been: What social contexts are considered appropriate for the Indonesian language and what contexts are appropriate for the Lio language? Under what circumstances can these contexts shift? What are the social, political, and linguistic implications of Indonesian shifting into a Lio context, and vice-versa? More recently, my research has sought to understand how Arabic, which adult Muslims in Flores are increasingly studying, fits into this ecology of languages.
At St. Lawrence University, I feel privileged to teach a variety of courses in linguistic and cultural anthropology, including Language and Human Experience, Writing Culture, Childhood Across Cultures, and Myth, Magic, and Ritual. In each of my courses, I aim to collaborate with students in hopes that we all come away with a renewed sense of wonder (rigorous, critical wonder) at the strange/beautiful/terrible worlds we humans create and inhabit.
2020 Recentering the Margins? The Politics of Local Language in a Decentralizing Indonesia. In Contact Talk: The Discursive Construction of Contact and Boundaries, edited by Zane Goebel, Debbie Cole, and Howard Manns. Routledge.
2019. Sociolinguistic Scale and Ethnographic Rapport. In Rapport and the Discursive Co-Construction of Social Relations in Fieldwork Settings, edited by Zane Goebel. Mouton de Gruyter.
2015 Moving Words: Christian Language in the Modern World. In Reviews in Anthropology 44: 1-17.
2013 Suspicious Minds: Problems of Cooperation in a Lio Ceremonial Council. In Language & Communication 33(3): 317-326.
2017 “Scaling the Nation: Multilingual Politics in a Decentralizing Indonesia” presented at the Conference on Contact-Induced Multilingual Practices at the University of Helsinki, June 1-2
2016 "Sociolinguistic Scale and Ethnographic Rapport" presented at Conceptualizing Rapport Symposium, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia, July 19-22
2016 "All Politics is Local: Spatial Deixis as Rhetoric in an Eastern Indonesian Polity" presented at Symposium on Language, Indexicality, and Belonging, Oxford University, April 7-8
- Ethnography of Communication, Descriptive Linguistics, Anthropology of Religion, Ritual, Rhetoric, Exchange, Ethnographic Methods, Ethnographic Writing, Indonesia, Oceania
Regularly Taught Courses:
- Language and Human Experience
- Talking Politics
- Childhood Across Cultures
- Language and Identity
- Myth, Magic, and Ritual
- Ethnographic Methods