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MES Lecture Series: Katrina Thompson
April 16, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT
Title: “Categorizing Muslims: Tactics of Intersubjectivity in a Progressive Muslim Community of Practice”
Drawing on data from a multi-sited linguistic ethnography of progressive Muslims, I explore how participants labeled themselves and others through talk-in-interaction and in online discussions. I use the tool of membership categorization devices to examine how they established the boundaries and distinctiveness of their community of practice and how they attached various beliefs, values, activities, and ways of reading to categories of people. Applying Bucholtz and Hall’s (2009) tactics of intersubjectivity, I argue that participants mobilized such categories to create diverse effects: highlighting their similarities, aligning themselves with non-Muslim progressives, and claiming ideological support for progressive Muslim beliefs and practices. Yet they also used distinction and illegitimation tactics to critique other Muslims, sometimes buttressing negative stereotypes.
About the presenter:
Katrina Daly Thompson is Professor of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches courses in critical applied linguistics and language pedagogy and directs the program in African languages. She is also a core faculty member in the Second Language Acquisition doctoral program, and an affiliate faculty member in the African Studies Program, the Middle Eastern Studies Program, Religious Studies, and Gender & Women’s Studies. Thompson is the author of two books published by Indiana University Press: Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity (2012) and Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings (2017). In her current book project, she turns from her previous focus on Muslim language use on the Swahili Coast to examine language use within transnational communities of progressive Muslims.