Sociocultural Linguist
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Research

My research draws on ethnographic sociolinguistic methods to explore how language and culture shape our interactions with animals, nature and place.  I am particularly interested in human relations with animals and natural places as sites of intercultural contact, situations where divergent languages, cultures, interests and practices intersect. My dissertation research explores the linguistic and social practices that emerge in the intersecting contexts of wildlife conservation and nature-based tourism in Hawai‘i around one charismatic ‘flagship species,’ the Hawaiian green sea turtle.  This research seeks to bridge sociocultural linguistics with interdisciplinary research in environmental social sciences and humanities. Through this research I advocate for the relevance of ethnographic language research for better understanding the intertwined social and ecological challenges facing human relations with endangered wildlife such as the Hawaiian green sea turtle and the Hawaiian monk seal. This research helps shed light on the political tensions involved in human-wildlife interaction, and the cultural responses to these tensions as people with diverse backgrounds strive to imagine, create and sustain shared futures for humans and wildlife on a changing planet.