Karl Swinehart

Assistant Professor
Department of Comparative Humanities
University of Louisville

Core: Language and the Human

Karl Swinehart earned a dual PhD in Education and Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. He is a linguistic anthropologist with a background in applied and educational linguistics whose ethnographically informed work illuminates institutional interventions in the linguistic, and more broadly semiotic, mediation of social groups. His dissertation, Ayllu on the Airwaves: Rap, Reform, & Redemption on Aymara National Radio, compares three Aymara-Spanish bilingual media platforms in Bolivia from which diverse cultural brokers project differing models of indigenous nationhood. Whether among rappers, Jesuits, or nationalist education activists, a linguistic register of dehispanicized Aymara was heard operating as a complex, sonic icon of national belonging across the three case studies. He is expanding the dissertation’s section on hip-hop into a book-length manuscript--Clear, Hidden Voices: Language, Indigeneity and Hip-hop in Bolivia. In 2012, he co-edited and contributed to a special issue of Language & Communication, titled Languages & Publics in Stateless Nations. He has also published work in the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, International Multilingual Research Journal, Anthropology and Education Quarterly and has articles in press with Language in Society and Social Text. At the UofC he co-teaches Language and the Human together with faculty in the Linguistics Department.