My primary research specialization is on the Uto-Aztecan languages. I have studied all dimensions of these languages, including their grammar and phonology, their sociolinguistic status, and their history. I have conducted field work on three of them: Cupeño, Nahuatl and Tohono O'odham. I completed a reference grammar of Cupeño in the Fall of 2003, and am planning a book on Uto-Aztecan prehistory and the linguistic prehistory of the Southwest.
A second major interest is in language ideology and the construction of ideology and identity in narrative and other discourse forms. I have been especially interested in the playing out of language ideology in the reproduction of White racism; I am currently writing a book on language and White racism which incorporates several years of study of "Mock Spanish" as well as new work on slurs and gaffes.
I attempt a precarious balancing act among diverse commitments: to the detailed documentation of languages and cultures and specialized expertise in technical tools such as comparative linguistic analysis, to the understanding of the scope and diversity of human history that is the glory of anthropology, and to using what I learn to advance social justice and mutual respect among human beings.
I invite students to join me on the tightrope.