Joel C. Kuipers

Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs
Room 201 2012 G Street NW
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Linguistic Anthropology, Indonesia

In 1978, Dr. Kuipers began nearly three years of ethnographic and linguistic research into a distinctive style of poetic ritual speech among the Weyewa people of the eastern Indonesian island of Sumba. Through intensive recording, transcription and analysis of ritual performances, he examined how the mastery and use of a parallelistic style of ceremonial discourse established the cultural authority of individuals, lineages and sacred spaces. Beginning in 1990's, he analyzed the role of language ideologies in the rapid decline of ritual speech on Sumba, and the rise of the Indonesian national language as the language political and religious authority. Since 2000, he has carried out extensive video ethnographic analyses of the use of authoritative language in psychiatric clinics, Indonesian courtrooms, and U.S. science classrooms.

Current Research

Language ideologies of Indonesian Islamic piety


Ph.D. and M.Phil., Yale University

Classes Taught

ANTH 1004 Language in Culture and Society

ANTH 3704 Cultures of Southeast Asia

ANTH 6691 Topics in Linguistic Anthropology