Sawyer Seminar Working Group Invitation

Dear campus community:

We would like to invite you to a multi-disciplinary working group in connection with the 2018-2019 UC Berkeley Sawyer Seminar on the topic of linguistic anthropology and literary and cultural study. You can find a longer description of the Seminar here.  The working group will be meeting eight times throughout the year to discuss work from the Seminar’s invited speakers and others. The Sawyer Seminar itself will consist of seven two-day events across the academic year dedicated to a series of interlocking themes: translation / transduction, sound, publics, politics, religion, sexuality, or ethics. In addition to a meeting coinciding with each of these seven sessions, our first meeting will serve as something of an introduction to linguistic anthropology and its potential relations to literary and cultural study.

Working group meetings will take place on Tuesdays from 6-8pm in Dwinelle 127.  For each meeting after the introductory one, this will occur on the Tuesday prior to each Wednesday/Thursday Seminar session. The dates and readings are:


Michael Lucey, “Proust and Language-in-Use,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 48, no. 2 (2015): 261-279.

Michael Silverstein, “Shifters, Linguistic Categories, and Cultural Description,” in Keith H. Basso and Henry A. Selby, eds., Meaning in Anthropology (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976), 11-55.

Jillian R. Cavanaugh, “Indexicalities of Language in Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels: Dialect and Italian as Markers of Social Value and Difference,” in Grace Russo Bullaro and Stephanie Love, eds., The Works of Elena Ferrante: Reconfiguring the Margins (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 45-70.


Lisa Mitchell, “From the Art of Memory to the Practice of Translation: Making Languages Parallel,” in Language, Emotion, and Politics in South India: The Making of a Mother Tongue (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009), 158-188.

Elliott Colla, “Dragomen and checkpoints,” The Translator 21, no. 2 (2015): 132-153.

Anthony K. Webster, “‘Everything Got Kinda Strange after a While:’ Some Reflections on Translating Navajo Poetry that Should not be Translated,” Anthropology and Humanism 40, no. 1 (2015): 72-93.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli, “Radical Worlds: The Anthropology of Incommensurability and Inconceivability,”  Annual Review of Anthropology 30 (2001): 319-34.

Michael Silverstein, “Translation, Transduction, Transformation: Skating ‘Glissando’ on Thin Semiotic Ice,” in Paula G. Rubel and Abraham Rosman, eds., Translating Cultures: Perspectives on Translation and Anthropology (New York: Berg, 2003), 75-105.

For September 12 and 13, we are making available a piece of writing by each of the speakers.

September 12:

Susan Gal, “Commentary: Processes of Translation and Demarcation in Legal Worlds,” forthcoming in Elizabeth Mertz and R. Ford, eds., Law and the Translation of Social Worlds (New York: Fordham University Press).

Elliott Colla, “The People Want,” Middle East Report 42, no. 263 (2012),

September 13:

Mairi Louise McLaughlin, “News translation past and present: silent witness and invisible intruder,” Perspectives: Studies in Translatology (2015): 1-18.

Saul Schwartz, “Writing Chiwere: Orthography, literacy, and language revitalization,” Language & Communication 61 (2018): 75-87.

Tobias Warner, “How Mariama Bâ Became World Literature: Translation and the Legibility of Feminist Critique,” PMLA 131, no. 5 (2016): 1239-55.


Nicholas Harkness, “Introduction,” in Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), 1-25.

Steven Feld, “To You They Are Birds, To Me They Are Voices in the Forest” in Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982), 44-85.

David Samuels, Louise Meintjes, Ana Maria Ochoa, and Thomas Porcello, “Soundscapes: Toward A Sounded Anthropology,” Annual Review of Anthropology 39 (2010): 329-345.

Ana María Ochoa Gautier, “Introduction: The Ear and the Voice in the Lettered City’s Geophysical History,” in Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Columbia (Durham: Duke University Press), 1-29.

Ana María Ochoa Gautier, “On Howls and Pitches,” in Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Columbia (Durham: Duke University Press), 31-75.

Ana María Ochoa Gautier, “On the Ethnographic Ear,” in Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century Columbia (Durham: Duke University Press), 123-164.

For October 10 and 11, we are making available a piece of writing by each of the speakers.

October 10:

Miyako Inoue, “The Listening Subject of Japanese Modernity and His Audio Double: Citing, Sighting, and Siting the Modern Japanese Woman,” Cultural Anthropology 18, no. 2 (2003): 156-193.

Tom McEnaney, “Real-to-Reel: Social Indexicality, Sonic Materiality, and Literary Media Theory in Eduardo Costa’s Tape Works,” Representations 137, no. (2017): 143-166.

Amanda Weidman, “The Raw and the Husky: On Timbral Qualia and Ethnolinguistic Belonging,” unpublished manuscript.

October 11:

Paja Faudree, “What is an Indigenous Author?: Minority Authorship and the Politics of Voice in Mexico,” Anthropological Quarterly 88, no. 1 (2015): 5-35.

Paja Faudree, “Singing for the Spirits: The Annual Day of the Dead Song Contest,” in Singing for the Dead: The Politics of Indigenous Revival in Mexico (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), 105-140.

Daniel Fisher, “Mediating Kinship: Country, Family, and Radio in Northern Australia,” Cultural Anthropology 24, no. 2 (2009): 280-312.

Charles Hirschkind, “The Ethics of Listening: Cassette-Sermon Audition in Contemporary Cairo,” American Ethnologist 28, no. 3 (2001): 623-649.


Michael Warner, “Publics and Counterpublics,” Public Culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 49-90.

Francis, Cody, “Echoes of the teashop in a Tamil newspaper,” Language & Communication 31 (2011): 243-254.

Richard Bauman, “Projecting Presence: Aura and Oratory in William Jennings Bryan’s Presidential Races,” in E. Summerson Carr and Michael Lempert, eds., Scale: Discourse and Dimensions of Social Life (Oakland: University of California Press, 2016), 25-51.

Michael Warner, “Whitman Drunk,” in Publics and Counterpublics (New York: Zone Books, 2002), 269-289.

For November 14 and 15, we are making available a piece of writing by each of the speakers.

November 14:

Asif Agha, “Large and small scale forms of personhood,” Language & Communication 31 (2011): 171-180.

Constantine V. Nakassis, “Rajini’s Finger, Indexicality, and the Metapragmatics of Presence,” Signs and Society 5, no. 2 (2017): 201-242.

November 15:

Francis Cody, “Populist Publics: Print Capitalism and Crowd Violence beyond Liberal Frameworks,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 35, no. 1 (2015): 50-65.

Nicholas Harkness, “Transducing a Sermon, Inducing Conversion: Billy Graham, Billy Kim, and the 1973 Crusade in Seoul,” Representations 137 (2017): 112-142.

Virginia Jackson, “American Romanticism, Again,” Studies in Romanticism 55, no. 3 (2016): 319-346.


Saba Mahmood, “Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide?” Critical Inquiry 35 (2009): 836-862.

Michael Warner, “The Preacher’s Footing,” in Clifford Siskin and William Warner, eds., This Is Enlightenment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 368-383.

E. Summerson Carr, “‘Signs of the Times’: Confession and the Semiotic Production of Inner Truth,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19 (2013): 34-51.

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Translating Life-Worlds into Labor and History,” in Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 72-96.

Michael Allan, “Translation: The Rosetta Stone from Object to Text,” in In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 39-54.

For February 6 and 7, we are making available a piece of writing by each of the speakers.

February 6:

Niklaus Largier, “Reweaving the Texture of Perception: Mysticism and the Production of Sensual and Affective Experience.”

Mayanthi L. Fernando, “Field Notes II: Friday Prayers” and “‘A Memorial to the Future,'” in The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014), 101-144.

February 7:

Michael Allan, “Literature: How Adab Became Literary,” in In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016), 74-93.

Courtney Handman, “Languages Without Subjects: On the Interior(s) of Colonial New Guinea,” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7, no. 1 (2017): 207-228.

Webb Keane, “The Evidence of the Senses and the Materiality of Religion,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 14, no. s1 (2008): S110-S127.




Invited speakers include Susan Gal, Steven Feld, Virginia Jackson, Paja Faudree, Michael Warner, Asif Agha, Michael Silverstein, Judith Irvine, Laura Graham, and others.

We ask working group members to commit to attending all (or at the very least 6 out of 8) sessions to help with the creation of a robust conversation.  We will be developing the reading list for the working group over the course of the summer, and readings for the introductory session will be distributed sometime in June.

To help us in our planning, please drop us a line to let us know if you’d like to join the working group.

Michael Lucey and Tom McEnaney