UTSA English Professor to Deliver 58th Annual Longest Lecture

Talk will interpret scholar's research on language and cultural identity

Sonja L. Lanehart

OXFORD, Miss. – The 58th annual Christopher Longest Lecture at the University of Mississippi will tackle topics of language and identity through a presentation by Sonja L. Lanehart, English professor and Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The lecture, at 6:30 p.m. Monday (Sept. 24) in the auditorium of Bondurant Hall, is free and open to the public. A reception will precede the lecture at 5:30 p.m. in Bondurant Hall, Room C208.

Lanehart’s presentation, “Tell Me What You Really Mean: Race-ing American Language Variationist and Sociolinguistic Research,” will provide a meta-analysis on language variation and change research as well as sociolinguistic research through a critical lens of race theory, black feminism and intersectionality.

She hopes the Oxford and university communities will see value in her inquiries and rethink how they view their own areas of research.

“As a black woman born and raised in Texas, I often saw how language and uses of literacy among black communities was devalued or overlooked,” Lanehart said. “I internalized this view early on and it took my college education, and some wonderful professors, to move from seeing the language of my community not as deficient, but masterful.”

The event is sponsored by the UM departments of Modern Languages and English.

“Dr. Lanehart’s lecture will help our community understand the intricacies of the study of language and how language relates to identity,” said Daniel O’Sullivan, UM professor of French and chair of modern languages. “It is our hope that the lecture and subsequent discussion will give faculty, students, and residents of Oxford much to think about when it comes to how they see others according to how they speak.”

The Christopher Longest Lecture series was established in 1960 by Ann Waller Reins Longest to honor her husband, longtime Ole Miss professor Christopher Longest, and provide enrichment to the university.

For more information on the lecture, visit http://modernlanguages.olemiss.edu/.