Skip to Main Content

Through the lens of language, UNF professor examines segregation in education in urban India

Dr. Jessica Chandras, linguistic anthropologist and assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Florida, is set to publish her book “Mother Tongue Prestige” this year. The sociolinguistic educational study provides a contemporary perspective on language and privilege in education in an urban Indian context.  

Geared towards education professionals, social science students and anyone researching, studying or interested in learning about socialization through language in multilingual educational settings, the book introduces a dialogue on privilege, specifically with a focus on caste and socioeconomic status in India with rich ethnographic evidence. 

“Mother Tongue Prestige” explores the persistence of class and caste segregation at all levels of education in India through the nexus of language and power. This work advances research in South Asian studies, sociolinguistics and the anthropology of education about multilingual education, language ideologies and the intricate relationship between language and identity. The book also scrutinizes present-day caste dynamics, highlighting and questioning societal and linguistic hegemonic norms. 

Chandras is trained in qualitative, ethnographic and sociolinguistic research methods. Her ongoing research in India examines values attached to language and practices of multilingual language socialization in education through a lens of power. She has also worked and researched in multilingual communities on the impacts of indigenous language on identity and community formation in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the Basque Country in Spain.  

“Mother Tongue Prestige” will be available online