Scholars

Elena Lawrick is Assistant Professor and directs the ESL Program at Reading Area Community College. She received her Ph.D. degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Purdue University. Her research focuses on bridging the fields of world Englishes and second language writing. In the field of world Englishes, her research concentrates on the sociolinguistic realities of English in the Expanding Circle, especially Russia. Her dissertation, entitled “English in Russian Academia: Uses and Perceived Significance”, investigates an ongoing language change in the Russian scholarly community, drawing on the analysis of sociopolitical factors and empirical data. With Dr. Proshina, Elena founded and co-authored the English in Russia Internet Project and continues to assemble the bibliography of works investigating the sociolinguistic realities of English in the Russian Federation. In the field of second language writing, her research focuses on the impact of the dominance of English in international scholarly publishing on teaching writing in the U.S. higher education institutions. Her forthcoming publication “Students in the first-year ESL writing program: revisiting the notion of “traditional” ESL” discusses the implications of the global spread of English for U.S. writing program administration. 

Maria Polinsky is a professor in Harvard University's Department of Linguistics. She teaches courses in comparative syntactic theory, typology, language acquisition, specializing in Austronesian languages (esp. Malagasy, Maori) and languages of the Caucasus (esp. Tsez, Kabardian). Her work is: "at the intersection of theoretical syntax and study of cross-linguistic variation in sentence structure. I am interested in the ways linguistic theory can be used as a roadmap for understanding how people process language and for obtaining meaningful results that feed back into theory. Language-wise, I specialize in Austronesian and languages of the Caucasus. I also have a particular interest in heritage languages which are strikingly similar to each other; it is important to understand why they share so many grammatical similarities with each other. In terms of linguistic phenomena, I am particularly interested in long-distance dependencies, case assignment, and control/raising."

 

Edward J. Vajda is a professor in Western Washington University's Department of Modern and Classical Languages in Bellingham, Washington State, where he has been on the faculty since 1987. He teaches courses in Russian language, culture and history, as well as general linguistics and Inner Asian and Siberian peoples. He is currently serving as director of the Center for East Asian Studies and as Associate Director of the Center for International Studies. He also serves as an editor of the New York-based linguistics journal "Word". Fluent in several languages, he has authored six books and dozens of articles and reviews. His current research involves documenting the disappearing languages of Siberia. Dr. Vajda has conducted original fieldwork with Ket, a language spoken by fewer than 100 people in the remote Yenisei River basin. He is also affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany), where in August 2006 he proposed evidence of a genetic connection between Yeniseian, the language family to which Ket belongs, and the Na-Dene family of North America, the first widely accepted linguistic link between an Old World and a New World language family. Vajda received his university's Excellence of Teaching Award in 1992. 
Jean-Luc Houle is Assistant Professor in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology at Western Kentucky University. He is an anthropological archaeologist whose research interests focus on the study of early complex societies with a particular emphasis on East Asia and the Eurasian steppe region. He directs a multiscalar and multidisciplinary field research project in Mongolia, where he is studying the development of societal complexity among early mobile pastoralists of the Bronze and Iron Ages. He also carries out ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological work in Mongolia.
Daniel Prior (Ph.D. Indiana University, 2002) is Assistant Professor of History and a faculty associate in Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at Miami University. He teaches Central Eurasian and world history and researches the history, cultures, and folklore of Central Eurasia, mainly of Turkic nomadic peoples. He has lived in China, Japan, and for three and a half years in Kyrgyzstan, before and after its independence from the Soviet Union. He is the author of The Šabdan Baatır Codex: Epic and the Writing of Northern Kirghiz History (in press at Brill), The Semetey of Kenje Kara: A Kirghiz Epic Performance on Phonograph, with a Musical Score and a Compact Disc of the Phonogram; edited, translated and with an Introduction and Commentary (Turcologica 59; Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 2006), and other books and articles. In support of his research on the history and oral historiography of the Northern Kirghiz he has received an NEH Fellowship (2006-2007), an ACLS Fellowship (2009-2010), and an IREX grant (summer 2008, for archival work in Moscow, Bishkek, and Almaty).
Stefan M. Pugh is Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; he came to WSU in 2008 from St. Andrews University (Scotland), where he was Reader in Russian.  Dr. Pugh has long been active in teaching and researching the Slavic languages, Slavic and general linguistics, as well as Finnish and related languages.  He has authored seven books and many articles, focusing on various aspects of the East Slavic languages, Russian-Finnic language contact, as well as language and identity.  His current research involves both synchronic study of the Rusyn language and historical East Slavic linguistics.  Dr. Pugh’s primary fieldwork on Rusyn has been conducted in eastern Slovakia, the result of which was the first grammar of the language in English, and the first of the Prešov variant of Rusyn in any language.

 

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