Dr. Catherine R. Rhodes


Assistant Professor



Describe your research in about 200 words.

My research interests include linguistic relativity; language diversity and cognition; epistemologies-ontologies; models of personhood; language ideologies; modernity; scale; and social identification, including around the constructs of Indigeneity and ethnicity. I conduct ethnographic research on the relationship between the production of scientific knowledge and models of personhood (including ethnic and social identification) and the role language plays in these processes in Yucatan, Mexico. I have previously conducted collaborative, ethnographic research in the US on processes of social identification in a (New) Latino Diaspora community in the mid-Atlantic. I have published on topics including scale, narrative, social identification, language standardization, language ideologies, linguistic register variation, indigenous-language lexicography, and the New Latino Diaspora and co-produced the ethnographic film Adelante.


What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?

Among the most interesting things I have learned from students is about the very praxis of learning itself. While I have studied and written about learning theories, it was not until I had the opportunity to design courses based on a particular learning theory and engage in those courses with students that I was able to fully understand learning theory in practice. By designing my courses using a socio-cultural theory of learning, I joined students in the classroom as a learner. Socio-cultural learning theory holds that learning happens in conjunction with more knowledgeable others. Through engagement in activities with others, some of whom may be more knowledgeable on a given subject than others, together learners can bridge gaps in their understanding. Thus, in my courses, I am both teacher and learner, as are the students in my courses. Thanks to the students with whom I have had the opportunity of working, I have been able to turn my theoretical knowledge of learning theories into praxis, breaking down the artificial divide between learning as theory and learning as practice.