House Signs and Collegiate Fun, a book written by Associate Professor of Anthropology Chaise LaDousa, was the subject of an article in Monday’s issue of InsideHigherEd which included an interview with the author. While in a visiting teaching position at Miami University of Ohio, LaDousa and his students analyzed the origins and meanings of house signs, complete with numerous interviews with residents of named off-campus houses. The project led to LaDousa’s book in which he examined the house signs and their significance.
In describing the origins of the initial study, LaDousa explained, “My students in a seminar in linguistic anthropology decided that house signs should be the focus of our attention as we thought about the relationship between language and culture. The students became engrossed in thinking, talking, and writing about how house signs should be approached theoretically and what house signs can be said to do practically.”
In answering what lessons could more broadly be drawn from the project and how they might be applied to other institutions, LaDousa replied, “… many students with whom I have discussed house signs find them unrecognizable and alien. House signs can help us recognize a dominant – if not representative – notion of the college student in our society and help us to think about the fact that there are many college students who do not fit that dominant image.”