Ph.D. Students

Jessica López-Espino

My research combines linguistic and legal anthropology to explore the experience of Latinxs in U.S. child welfare proceedings. I trace how Latinx adults navigate the child welfare system, considering the ways in which language access, beliefs about culturally defined parenting practices, and racialized perceptions of risk shape decision making in juvenile dependency cases. I'm broadly interested in rituals of legitimation through legal processes and the role of race and language in perceptions of social belonging in the U.S.

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Hyemin Lee

Bridging linguistic/semiotic anthropology with medical anthropology, my research centers on the transformation of traditional Korean medicine (hanuihak) and Korean materia medica (hanyak) under the process of scientization and commodification. My academic interests also touch upon the broad theme of language and medicine, including communications of pain and suffering, doctor-patient interactions, and medical discourse.

Parmida Mostafavi

Broadly, I am interested in how language influences, and is influenced by, identity formations and performances. I study the links between nationalism and racial formation and how language mediates identity categories such as race, religion, and class, particularly through the linguistic practices of Iranian-Americans. In addition to code-mixing, code-switching, and speech itself, my favorite avenues to study these phenomena include social media memes and discourse, Iranian business practices in the U.S., and online fashion stores catering to the Iranian diaspora.

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Undergraduate research Assistants

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Cameron Anderson

Diya Chatterjee

Harry Zhu


Former Advisees

Hannah Carlan

I am a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist specializing in the multilingual politics of rural development in the Himalayan region of northern India. My dissertation research broadly examines how state actors, non-governmental organizations, and rural farmers co-produce and contest ideas of poverty, prosperity, and responsibility in their everyday encounters, and how this impacts bureaucratic practice and state welfare provisioning. My undergraduate research at NYU examined humor as a semiotic resource for diasporic identity construction amongst second-generation South Asian social workers in Queens, NY.