Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Ph.D. Candidate Aris Moreno Clemons Researches Racialization through Language

Wed, November 6, 2019
Ph.D. Candidate Aris Moreno Clemons Researches Racialization through Language

Aris Moreno Clemons is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in our department, originally from the bay area in California. She is a scholar of raciolinguistics, a branch of sociolinguistics that examines how language practices contribute to the making of ethno-racial identity.

Aris’s dissertation critically analyzes the ways in which racial and linguistic profiling affect Dominican-born and Dominican-origin pupils in classroom spaces. Aris interprets students’ identities and language use, as well as teachers’ evaluative judgments and larger institutional practices through the analytical lens of raciolinguistics. “I think it is important to consider processes of racialization that happen through everyday implicit acts that occur under the level of consciousness,” Aris explains. She has crafted a truly interdisciplinary project, using linguistic methodologies to collect and present data that is then interpreted through theories developed in ethnic and cultural studies, anthropology, education, and sociology. By bridging these disciplines that often work in isolation, Aris’s research reveals an aspect of racial formation that is rarely considered.

Aris was recently selected to participate in the Faculty First-Look program at NYU. The first part of the program workshopped the entire job search process and created a spirit of cohort among the participants. Aris reports, “We were encouraged to speak through our projects, our career goals, our challenges, and our fears in a safe space. We were also given access to academic professionals who have spent a large portion of their careers serving as job search committee chairs and people who had recently and successfully gone through the process themselves. It was an invaluable experience that I look forward to continuing with the next session in March of 2020.”

Aris’s co-authored chapter in the book Dialects from Tropical Islands: Caribbean Spanish in the United States was published this year and investigates the social implications of particular linguistic traits of Dominican Spanish.

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