Bonnie Urciuoli

Bonnie Urciuoli
Bonnie Urciuoli

Leonard C. Ferguson Professor of Anthropology Emerita and Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

Bonnie Urciuoli's areas of interests are linguistic and cultural anthropology, specializing in public discourses of race, class and language and particularly the discursive construction of "diversity" in U.S. higher education. Urciuoli's book, Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race, and Class, was awarded the 1997 Gustavus Myers Center Award for the study of human rights in North America. She has published in American Ethnologist, Language and Communication and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. She received her doctorate from the University of Chicago.

Recent Courses Taught

Language and Sociolinguistics
Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Phonetics and Phonology: The Analysis of Sound
History of Anthropological Ideas
U.S. Discourses I: Race, Ethnicity and Class


  • Hamilton College Dean’s Scholarly Career Achievement Award, 2011
  • Sidney Wertimer Teaching Award (selected by the Hamilton College Student Assembly), 2009
  • Gustavus Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, presented to Exposing Prejudice for outstanding work on intolerance in North America, 1997
  • Spencer Foundation award through Small Grants Program, for research on phonetic variation in New York Puerto Rican English, 1988
  • National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation combined preservation grant for the integration of the Archives of the Languages of the World into the Archives of Traditional Music collections at Indiana University, 1988
  • Ford Foundation Advisory Committee on the Movement of Caribbean Peoples field grant, for doctoral research, 1977-1979

Selected Publications

  • Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race, and Class. Boulder, CO: Westview. Reissued 2013 by Waveland (Long Grove IL), 1996.
  • “The Semiotic Production of the Good Student: A Peircian Look at the Commodification of Liberal Arts Education.”  Signs and Society 2(1):56-83, 2014. 
  • “Language Management/Labor” by Bonnie Urciuoli and Chaise LaDousa. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 42, pp. 175-190, 2013.
  • “Discussion Essay: Semiotic Properties of Racializing Discourses.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology (Special issue Racializing Discourses, guest eds Kristina Wirtz and Hilary Parsons Dick). 21(S1):114-123, 2011.
  • “Entextualizing diversity: semiotic incoherence in institutional discourse.” Language and Communication (Special issue Intertextuality and Misunderstanding, guest editor Eleanor Nevins) 30(1): 48-57, 2010.
  • “Talking/Not Talking about Race: The enregisterment of culture and diversity in higher education discourses.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 19(1): 21-39, 2009.
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  • “Language and Race. In RACE: Are We So Different?” American Anthropological Association companion book for traveling RACE exhibit. Alan Goodman, Yolanda Moses, Joseph Jones, eds. Malden MA and Oxford UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Pp. 150-153, 2012.
  • “Neoliberal Education: preparing the student for the new workplace.” In Politics, Publics, Personhood: Ethnography at the Limits of Neoliberalism. Carol Greenhouse, ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pp. 162-176, 2010.
  • “The Emergence of Language Identity in Cultural Action: A Commentary.” In Beyond Yellow English: The Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America. Angela Reyes and Adrienne Lo, eds. Oxford. pp. 385-90, 2009.
  • “Skills and Selves in the New Workplace.” American Ethnologist 35(2): 211-228. 2008.
  • “Whose Spanish? The tension between linguistic correctness and cultural identity.” In Bilingualism and Identity: Spanish at the Crossroads with Other Languages. Mercedes NiZo Murcia and Jason Rothman, eds. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, Studies in Bilingualism. pp. 257-277, 2008.
  • “Figuring out what an accent is: The short, personal history of an idea.” In Language, Culture, and the Individual: A Tribute to Paul Friedrich. Catherine O'Neil, Mary Scoggin and Kevin Tuite, eds. Munich: Lincom Europa. Pp. 72-78, 2006.

Professional Affiliations

American Anthropological Association
American Ethnological Society
Society for Cultural Anthropology
Society for Linguistic Anthropology

Appointed to the Faculty: 1988

Educational Background

Ph.D., The University of Chicago
M.A., The University of Chicago
B.A., Syracuse University

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