Boasian Legacies in Linguistic Anthropology: A Centenary Review of 2011



ABSTRACT  I review scholarship in linguistic anthropology produced in 2011 with attention to the continuing influence of Franz Boas' program for the anthropology of language laid out in his 1911 “Introduction” to the Handbook of American Indian Languages. Although the aims of linguistics and cultural anthropology have changed, many of the tenets of the Boas plan remain central to the subdiscipline of linguistic anthropology. The scope of linguistic anthropological inquiry today includes more than language as denotational code, covering practices of signification and communication in their social and cultural contexts. This expansion has brought new perspectives to the questions pursued by Boas and his students, and this review considers the current place of topics such as indigenous language change, language and race, linguistic relativity, and secondary rationalization alongside approaches to performativity, intertextuality, circulation, and semiotic mediation with an eye to the Americanist legacy of the subdiscipline. [Franz Boas, intertextuality, relativity, ritual performativity, race].