Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, of Linguistics, and of Psychology and in the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities

Office phone: (773) 702-7713
Office: Haskell 313

Michael Silverstein received his PhD from Harvard in 1972. He is Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, of Linguistics, and of Psychology and in the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities. Professor Silverstein studies language structure and its functional contextualization, language history and prehistory, the anthropology of language use, sociolinguistics, semiotics, language and cognition (and their development), and history of linguistic and ethnographic studies. His fieldwork in northwestern North America and northwestern Australia has been the basis of various descriptive, theoretical and generalizing contributions. He is also investigating language use and textuality as sites of contestation and transformation of cultural value in contemporary American society, reconceptualizing sociocultural and rhetorical practices in light of the semiotic anthropology of communication.


Selected Publications


Year Title / Publications  
2014 The Voice of Jacob: Entextualization, Contextualization, and Identity. English Literary History (ELH), special issue ed. by R. Copeland and F. Ferguson (in press).  
2013 From Baffin Island to Boasian Induction: How Anthropology and Linguistics Got into the Interlinear Groove. In R. Darnell, ed., Franz Boas: Ethnographer, Theorist, Activist, Public Intellectual. University of Nebraska Press (in press).  
2013 (w/ M. Lempert) Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency. Indiana University Press.  
2013 Worora Kinship and 'Parenteral' Relationships. Anthropological Theory, special issue on "Qualia" ed. N. Harkness and L.H. Chumley. 13 (1-2): 89-103.  
2013 The Race from Place: Dialect Eradication vs. the Linguistic 'Authenticity' of 'terroir'. In Lacoste, et al. eds., Indexing Authenticity: Sociolinguistic Perspectives. de Gruyter (in press).  
2013 Performative Risks in Risking Performace. In Metz, et al. eds., Translating the Social World for Law. Oxford University Press (in press).  
2012 The Eucharistic Chiastic Trope in American 'Civil Religion': Ritual Interdiscursivity and the Production of Cultural Intertexts. Lexia, Revista di Semiotica. 11-12: 297-325.  
2012 Does the Autonomy of Linguistics Rest on the Autonomy of Syntax: An Alternative Framing of our Object of Study. In Meeuwis and Ostman, eds., Pragmaticizing Understanding: Studies for Jef Verschueren. John Benjamins, 15-38.  
2011 The 'Message' in the (Political) Battle. Language and Communication. 31(2):203-216.  
n.d. Seized by Eminent Domaine: The ‘Vinification’ of Comestible Prestige. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 2011 (forthcoming).  
2011 What goes around. . .: Some Shtick from ‘Tricky Dick’ and the Circulation of U.S. Presidential Image. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 21(1):54-77.  
2011 Presidential Ethno-blooperology: Performance Misfires in the Business of ‘Message’-ing. Anthropological Quarterly, 84(1): 165-86.  
2010 Society, Polity, and Language Community: An Enlightenment Trinity in Anthropological Perspective. Journal of Language and Politics. 9(3):339-363.  
2010 ‘Direct’ and ‘Indirect’ Communicative Acts in Semiotic Perspective. Journal of Pragmatics. 42: 337-353.  
2009 Private Ritual Encounters, Public Ritual Indexes. In S. Senft & E. Basso, eds., Ritual Communication. Oxford: Berg, 271-291.  
2006 How Knowledge Begets Communication Begets Knowledge: Textuality and Contextuality in Knowing and Learning. Intercultural Communication Review (Tokyo) 5: 31-60.  
2006 How We Look from Where We Stand [Review essay on 3 Blackwell Handbooks]. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 16(2): 269-78.  
2006 Old Wine, New Ethnographic Lexicography. Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol 35, 481-96.  
2006 Writing at the Chronotopic Margins of Empires. In S.L. Sanders, ed., Margins of Writing, Origins of Cultures. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press, 149-155.  
2005 Cultural Knowledge, Discourse Poetics, and the Performance of Social Relations. In A. Makkai, W. J. Sullivan & A. R. Lommel, eds., LACUS Forum XXXI: Interconnections. Houston : LACUS, 33-52.  
2005 The Poetics of Politics: “Theirs” and “Ours.” Journal of Anthropological Research. 61(1):1-24.  
2005 Heartburn as a Cultural System. In R. Cernea, ed., The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate. University of Chicago Press.  
2005 Axes of --evals: Token vs. Type Interdiscursivity. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 15(1):6-22.  
2005 Languages/Cultures are Dead! Long Live the Linguistic-Cultural! In D. Segal & S. Yanagisako , eds., Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle: Reflections on the Disciplining of Anthropology. Durham : Duke University Press, 99-125.  
2004 ‘Cultural’ Concepts and the Language-Culture Nexus. Current Anthropology. 45(5) : 621-652.  
2004 Boasian Cosmographic Anthropology and the Sociocentric Component of Mind. In R. Handler, ed., Significant Others. History of Anthropology, Vol. 10] Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, pp. 131-57.  
2003 Translation, Transduction, Transformation: Skating Glossando on Thin Semiotic Ice. In P. Rubel and A. Rosman, eds., Translating Cultures: Perspectives on Translation and Anthropology. Oxford: Berg, 75-105,  
2003 The Whens and Wheres—as well as Hows—of Ethnolinguistic Recognition. Public Culture. 15(3): 531-57.  
2003 Indexical Order and the Dialectics of Sociolinguistic Life. Language and Communication. 23(3-4): 193-229 [Special issue on the work of M. Silverstein and students: Words and Beyond: Linguistic and Semiotic Studies of the Sociocultural Order. ed. P. Manning.]  
2003 Talking Politics: The substance of style from Abe to “W.” Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press [distributed by University of Chicago Press ].  
2000 Whorfianism and the Linguistic Imagination of Nationality. In P. Kroskrity, ed., Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, pp. 85-138.  
1998 The Uses and Utility of Ideology. A Commentary. In B. Schieffelin, K. Woolard, P. Kroskrity, eds., Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory. Oxford University Press, 123-145.  
1998 Contemporary Transformations of Local Linguistic Communities. Annual Review of Anthropology, 27:401-26.  
1998 The Improvisational Performance of Culture in Realtime Discursive Practice. In K. Sawyer, ed., Creativity in Performance. Greenwich, CT: Ablex Publishing Corp., pp. 265-312.