James Collins

Office: Arts & Sciences Building, Room 242
Ph: (518) 442-4708
E-mail: jcollins@albany.edu                          Publications
Ph.D., UC-Berkeley, 1983                            

James Collins

Interests: Linguistics, social theory, North America and Europe, education, migration

North America

Research Statement

I am an anthropologist and linguist by training. My research typically engages discourse analysis

with social theory, combining analysis of linguistic practices with ethnographic research oriented to theoretical debates about power, identity and inequality. For several decades, I have studied issues of language diversity, social identity, and the politics of language in rural Native American communities, multi-ethnic urban communities in the U.S. and, most recently, multilingual migrant communities in Belgium, upstate New York, and South Africa.

At Albany I regularly teach courses in linguistics, language and society, and discourse analysis.

My books include:

Understanding Tolowa Histories (Routledge, 1998)

Literacy and Literacies (Cambridge, 2003) 

Globalization and Language Contact (Continuum, 2009)

Other recent publications include:

“Social reproduction in classrooms and schools,” Annual Review of Anthropology, 38 (2009): 33-48

“The place of narrative in human affairs,” Text & Talk, 29.3 (2009): 325-346

“Migration, sociolinguistic scale and educational reproduction.” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 43 (2012): 192-213

Research of James Collins

Working Papers on Language, Power, & Identity


Select Publications Since 2000


James Collins, Stef Slembrouck & Mike Baynham (Eds.). 2008/In press. Globalization and Languages in Context: Scale, Network, and Communicative Practice. London: Continuum Publishers, “Advances in Sociolinguistics” Series.

James Collins & Richard Blot. Literacy and Literacies: Texts, Power, and Identity. 2003. New York: Cambridge University Press, “Studies in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Language” Series.

James Collins. 1998. Understanding Tolowa Histories: Western Hegemonies and Native American Responses. New York: Routledge.

Special Issues of Journals (Editor & Co-Editor)

James Collins & Stef Slembrouck (Eds.) 2005. Multilingualism and Diasporic Populations: Spatializing Practices, Institutional Processes, and Social Hierarchies. Special issue of Language & Communication (vol 25.1)

Jan Blommaert, James Collins, Monica Heller, Ben Rampton, Stef Slembrouck, and Jef Verschueren (Eds.)  2003. Ethnography, Discourse, and Hegemony.  Special issue of Pragmatics (vol 13.1).  

James Collins, John Calagione & Fiona Thompson (Eds.). 1999. Culture, Dream, and Political Economy: Higher Education and Late Capitalism. Special issue of International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, (vol 12.3).

Articles and Book Chapters

Ben Rampton, Roxy Harris, James Collins, and Jan Blommaert. 2008. “Language, class and education”, in the Kluwer Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 2nd Ed, Part 1. (pp. 71-81) Nancy Hornberger & Stephen May (Eds.). Kluwer. 2008.

James Collins. 2007. “Migration and multingualism: Implications for linguistic anthropology and education research” Working Papers in Urban Languages and Literacies 47. Electronic working paper series, Kings College/London.

James Collins & Stef Slembrouck.  2006 “‘You don’t know what they translate: Language contact, institutional procedure, and literacy practices in neighborhood health centers in urban Flanders.”, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 16.2: 249-268.

Jan Blommaert, James Collins & Stef Slembrouck  2005. “Spaces of multilingualism,”, Language and Communication. 25.3: 197-216.

James Collins. 2004. “Language”  In A Companion to the Anthropology of American Indians. (pp. 490-505). Thomas Biolsi (Ed).. Oxford: Blackwell.

James Collins. 2003. “Reclaiming tradition, remaking community.”In Language and Social Identity. (pp.225-242). Richard Blot (Ed). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.

James Collins. 2003. “Language, identity, and learning in the era of  ‘expert-guided systems’”. In Linguistic Anthropology of Education. (pp. 31-60). Stanton Wortham & Betsy Rymes (Eds). Westport, CT: Praeger.

James Collins. 2001. Selling the market: Educational standards, discourse, and social inequality. Discourse and Critique. Special issue of Critique of Anthropology 21(2): 143-163.