Kendra Calhoun, Ph.D. (she/her)

University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Anthropology, UCLA

I’m an interdisciplinary sociocultural linguist with a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. I earned my B.A. in English Language & Literature and Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina (go Gamecocks!).

As a qualitative researcher, I critically analyze the intersections of language, identity, and power in face-to-face and mediated contexts. I examine race, gender, humor, activism, social media discourse, and institutional discourses in higher education, and I am particularly focused on the language, culture, and experiences of Black people in the U.S. I bring together theories and methods from fields including sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, discourse studies, media studies, sociology, education, and Black Studies. My postdoctoral research is a linguistic-anthropological study of the documentation of Black language and culture on TikTok.

I’m passionate about teaching, mentorship, and equity in higher education, and I’ve integrated them with my research throughout my academic career. In addition to teaching at multiple Minority Serving Institutions, I’ve contributed to multiple community-based collaborative projects.

Recent news and highlights

I’ve been awarded a 2023 ACLS Fellowship for my project #BlackPeopleBeLike: Discursive constructions of contemporary race, culture, and African American identity on TikTok

My lead-author paper “Attracting Black Students to Linguistics Through a Black-Centered Introduction to Linguistics Course” was awarded Best Paper in Language for 2021

Upcoming talks

Stay tuned!

Recent talks

“Representations of Black linguistic diversity on TikTok: Intersections of language, race, and technology”. Department of Linguistics, UC Davis, April 2023

“African American English: Exemplifying the intersections of language, power, and race in the U.S.” Community Psychology program, University of Virginia, April 2023

“Expanding notions of “Black language” through representations of Black linguistic diversity on TikTok.” Department of Anthropology & Linguistics Program, University of South Carolina, March 2023

“Reflections on responses to the ‘racial reckoning’ of 2020 in U.S. higher education: A collective conversation on lessons learned and next steps.” Webinar with Joyhanna Yoo Garza (Harvard), Jamaal Muwwakkil (UC Santa Barbara), Savithry Namboodiripad (University of Michigan), and Rachel Weissler (University of Oregon), American Educational Research Association: Language and Social Processes SIG, February 2023

“A mixed-methods examination of Black language pedagogy & how linguistic practices shape Black faculty experiences.” with Joy Peltier (U of SC), Quentin Sedlacek (Southern Methodist), Kara Seidel (UMBC), Anne Charity Hudley (Stanford), and Christine Mallinson (UMBC). American Dialect Society, January 2023