Michael Silverstein

Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor. Departments: Anthropology, Linguistics, Psychology, and the Humanities Collegiate Division, and Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Haskell Hall 313
(773) 702-7713

Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, of Linguistics, and of Psychology and in the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, studies language structure and its functional contextualization, language history and prehistory, the anthropology of language use, sociolinguistics, semiotics, language and cognition (and their development), and history of linguistic and ethnographic studies. His fieldwork in northwestern North America and northwestern Australia has been the basis of various descriptive, theoretical and generalizing contributions. He is also investigating language use and textuality as sites of contestation and transformation of cultural value in contemporary American society, reconceptualizing sociocultural and rhetorical practices in light of the semiotic anthropology of communication.

Recent Publications 
  • 1996 (Editor, with G. Urban), Natural Histories of Discourse. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (includes chapter, "The Secret Life of Texts," pp. 81-105).
  • 1996 Dynamics of Recent Linguistic Contact. In I. Goddard, ed., Handbook of North American Indians vol. 17, Languages. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 117-136.
  • 1998 The Improvisational Performance of Culture in Realtime Discursive Practice. In K. Sawyer, ed., Creativity in Performance. Greenwich, CT: Ablex Publishing Corp., pp. 265-312.
  • 1998 Contemporary Transformations of Local Linguistic Communities. Annual Review of Anthropology, 27:401-26.
  • 1998 The Uses and Utility of Ideology. A Commentary. In B. Schieffelin, K. Woolard, P. Kroskrity, eds., Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory. Oxford University Press, 123-145.
  • 2000 Whorfianism and the Linguistic Imagination of Nationality. In P. Kroskrity, ed., Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, pp. 85-138.
  • 2003 Talking Politics: The substance of style from Abe to "W." Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press [distributed by University of Chicago Press].
  • 2003 Indexical Order and the Dialectics of Sociolinguistic Life. Language and Communication. 23(3-4): 193-229 [Special issue on the work of M. Silverstein and students: Words and Beyond: Linguistic and Semiotic Studies of the Sociocultural Order. ed. P. Manning.
  • 2003 The Whens and Wheres - as well as Hows - of Ethnolinguistic Recognition. Public Culture. 15(3): 531-57.
  • 2004 Boasian Cosmographic Anthropology and the Sociocentric Component of Mind. In R. Handler, ed., Significant Others. [History of Anthropology, Vol. 10] Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 131-57.
  • 2004 'Cultural' Concepts and the Language- Culture Nexus. Current Anthropology. 45(5) : 621-652.
  • 2005 Languages/Cultures are Dead! Long Live the Linguistic- Cultural! In D. Segal & S. Yanagisako , eds., Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle: Reflections on the Disciplining of Anthropology. Durham : Duke University Press, 99-125.
  • 2005 Axes of - E vals: Token vs. Type Interdiscursivity. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 15(1)*:6-22.*
  • 2005 Heartburn as a Cultural System. In R. Cernea, ed., The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate. University of Chicago Press.
  • 2005 The Poetics of Politics: "Theirs" and "Ours." Journal of Anthropological Research. 61(1):1-24.
  • 2005 Cultural Knowledge, Discourse Poetics, and the Performance of Social Relations. In A. Makkai, W. J. Sullivan & A. R. Lommel, eds.,LACUS Forum XXXI: Interconnections. Houston : LACUS, 33-52.
  • 2006 Writing at the Chronotopic Margins of Empires. In S.L. Sanders, ed., Margins of Writing, Origins of Cultures. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press, 149-155.
  • 2006 Old Wine, New Ethnographic Lexicography. Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol 35, 481-96.
  • 2006 How We Look from Where We Stand [Review essay on 3 Blackwell Handbooks]. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 16(2) (in press).

PhD, Harvard, 1972