About me

Headshot of Kendra Calhoun

I’m a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I earned my B.A. in English Language & Literature and Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina in 2013 (go Gamecocks!) and my M.A. in Linguistics at UC Santa Barbara. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I use she/her pronouns, and I identify as Black.

My research is in the interdisciplinary field of sociocultural linguistics. I critically analyze the intersections of language, identity, and power and how they manifest in face-to-face and mediated contexts, particularly multimodal social media contexts. I’m especially interested in the linguistic and cultural practices of Black people in the U.S., and I bring together theories and methods from fields including sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, discourse studies, media studies, sociology, and Black Studies. My research on social media explores discourse practices on Vine, Tumblr, and Twitter, and in my dissertation research I analyze institutional diversity rhetoric in U.S. higher education and the material effects of diversity discourses and practices on graduate students of color in the U.S.

You can find a current version of my CV here.

Recent news

I’m on the 2020-2021 academic job market !

I co-presented ‚ÄúThis IS Linguistics: Scope, Positionality, and Graduate Apprenticeship when Diversifying the Linguistics Curriculum” with deandre miles-hercules and Jamaal Muwwakkil. The webinar is part of the Linguistic Society of America’s “Racial Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Linguistics Curriculum” series. You can watch the recording and see our slides on the LSA website.

My co-authored paper “Attracting Black Students to Linguistics Through a Black-Centered Introduction to Linguistics Course” is forthcoming in Language

I was interviewed for an article from Vox about the evolution of “Karen”: “How the ‘Karen’ meme evolved from entitled mom to mask-off racist”

I presented a talk titled “Analyzing Language, Race, and Humor Online Through the Lens of Black Digital Culture” as part of the Inspirational Speaker Series at University of Kent’s School of European Cultures and Languages (available with captions here)

I have been selected as a Fall 2020 research fellow in the “Disciplining Diversity” residential research group through the UC Humanities Research Institute

I appeared on The Vocal Fries podcast to discuss my research on African American humor on Vine: “Read Between the Vines”