Linguistic Anthropology Profiles

Sara Goico

Sara Goico received her B.A. in linguistic anthropology, American Sign Language, and Spanish from the University of Rochester in 2009. Her research interests focus on inclusion education for the deaf, interactional studies in classrooms, language socialization, and homesigners. In 2010 Sara conducted nine months of pre-dissertation fieldwork in Iquitos, Peru under the auspices of a Fulbright grant. Her M.A. thesis, titled “A Study of Talk-in-Interaction between a Deaf and Hearing Student in an Inclusion Classroom in Iquitos, Peru,” utilizes this fieldwork in order to analyze an interaction between a deaf homesigner and her hearing classmate in an inclusion classroom.

Sara is currently in Iquitos conducting her dissertation fieldwork. Support for her fieldwork comes from NSF, the Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), and the UCSD Anthropology Department (Project Bucks). Sara is a fellow of CARTA and collaborates with the research group Communication, Culture, and Diversity at Örebro University in Örebro, Sweden. She also co-founded the Sign Language Reading Group in 2010 and founded the Anthropology Graduate Student Association in 2011 at the University of California, San Diego.

Rachel HicksRachel Emerine Hicks

Rachel Hicks received her B.A. in Anthropology and Intercultural Studies
with a minor in Applied Linguistics from Biola University (2007).  She
received an MA in Anthropology from California State University, Long
Beach (2009).  For her MA thesis at CSULB, she conducted fieldwork in the
Solomon Islands studying the causes for endangerment of a small language
on the island of Santa Cruz.  Rachel’s current interests include
educational language policy in Melanesia and how these policies affect the
use of endangered languages, linguistic ideologies, and  educational

Aida Ribot Bencomo

Aida Ribot started the graduate program at UCSD in 2011, specializing in linguistic anthropology. She holds a B.A. in English philology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain (2011) and an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego (2013). Her main research interests are  language identity and ideology within the globalized new economy, grass- root movements, voluntary organizations in multilingual and language minority contexts, and nationalist politics. She is currently studying the ethnically, linguistically, and politically diverse cultural movement of ‘Castells’ or human towers in Catalonia.


Alicia Snyder-FreyAlicia Snyder-Frey

Alicia Snyder-Frey is a doctoral candidate in the department, specializing in cultural and linguistic anthropology.  She holds a B.A. in anthropology from Occidental College (2001) and an M.A. in anthropology from UCSD (2006). Her M.A. thesis, “Reviving the ‘Islands’ Native Tongue’: Competing Language Ideologies and Identity Politics in the Hawaiian Language Immersion Schools” (2006), focuses on ongoing Hawaiian language revitalization efforts and led her to carry out her fieldwork in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (Oʻahu).  Aliciaʻs dissertation will draw on these same themes of language, ideology, and identity, while focusing on Hawaiian language learnersʻ experiences and attitudes. Her current research interests include sociolinguitics, language ideologies, language and identity, language revitalization, and language in education.

Halemma Welji

Haleema Welji entered the linguistic anthropology program in 2009. She recently completed her M.A. thesis titled “Adding Allah to Alhamdulilah: The use of Arabic God-phrases for performative functions” on the social and religious role of God-phrases in everyday interactions. Her current research interests are related to the role of language in religion and religious identity, as well as areas such as religious ideology, ritual and habit, youth development and education, and language socialization. She is currently working on a proposal for a project studying the use of Arabic God-phrases in everyday conversation amongst Muslim Arabic speakers in the Middle East, including young children who are being socialized into the language. Her field site is in Jordan.

Prior to beginning at the University of California, San Diego, Haleema studied human development at the University of Chicago. During that time, she did research on the relationship between speech and gesture. In a project comparing and contrasting conversations between friends and strangers, she examined the concept of social resonance through speech and gestures between the two groups. After completing her undergraduate degree, Haleema moved into the field of education. She holds a M.A. in education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Bridging her entry into anthropology, Haleema taught English as a foreign language in southern Jordan. During that time, she developed her research interest in looking at the role of religion and religious concepts and ideas in language socialization of young Muslim children in the Middle East.

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