Christopher Ball

Associate Professor


B.A. University of California at Santa Barbara, 1996
M.A. University of Chicago, 2003
Ph.D., ibid., 2007

I am a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist with specialization in discourse and interaction, cultural symbolism, and the politics of communication.

I hold a BA in Linguistics from the University of California at Santa Barbara and I completed the PhD with distinction in the Joint Degree Program of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Chicago in 2007. My dissertation research involved Fulbright-Hays funded fieldwork with Wauja people, a group of roughly 350 speakers of an Arawak language from the Upper Xingu of Brazil. I was McKennan Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College, Smeall Summer Scholar of Anthropological Linguistics at the School for Advanced Research, and Assistant Professor at MacEwan University before coming to Notre Dame in 2013.

I teach and write in the areas of language in culture, the political economy of language in society, ritual performance, possession and exchange, Amazonian development, discourse and power, dialect and multilingualism, relationality and alterity, grammatical categories and mind, the anthropology of space and place, indigeneity, and language shift.

Selected Publications

nd Exchanging Words: Language, Ritual, and Relationality in Brazil's Xingu Indigenous Park. Under contract with School for Advanced Research Press.
2016 And There Was Light: Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis and (Ethno-)Primitivist Realism. Essay, Visual Anthropology, American Anthropologist 118.3.
2016 The Chicken and the Quetzal: Incommensurate Ontologies and Portable Values in Guatemala’s Cloud Forest. Paul Kockelman. Durham: Duke University Press. New Release Book Review in Anthropological Quarterly, vol. 89, no. 2.
2016 Tearful Sojourns and Tribal Wives: Primitivism, Kinship, Suffering, and Salvation on Japanese and British Reality TV. Co-authored with Shunsuke Nozawa. American Ethnologist, vol.43, no.1.
2015 Kinship Chronotopes. Christopher Ball & Nicholas Harkness (eds.), special issue of Anthropological Quarterly 88.2.
2015 Avoidance as Alterity Stance: An Upper Xinguan Affinity Chronotope. In Kinship Chronotopes, special issue of Anthropological Quarterly 88.2:337-372.
2014 On Dicentization. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 24.2:151-173.
2014 Linguistic Subjectivity in Ecologies of Amazonian Language Change. In Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America. Salikoko Mufwene (ed.). University of Chicago Press: 244- 273.
2014 Negation in Wauja Discourse. In Negation in Arawak. Lev Michael and Tania Granadillo (eds.). Brill: 147-168.
2012 Discourses of Loss in Amazonia. Christopher Ball (org.). Dossier, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 17.3.
2012 Stop Loss: Developing Interethnic Relations in Brazil’s Xingu Indigenous Park. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 17.3: 413-434.
2012 Boasian Legacies in Linguistic Anthropology: A Centenary Review of 2011. American Anthropologist 115.2: 203-216.
2012 (Book Review) The Occult Life of Things: Native Amazonian Theories of Materiality and Personhood Fernando Santos-Granero, (ed.). 2009. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.
2011 As Spirits Speak: Interaction in Wauja Exoteric Ritual. Journal de la Société des Américanistes 97(1): 87-117.
2011 Inalienability in Social Relations: Language, Possession, and Exchange in Amazonia. Language in Society 40(3): 307-341.
2011 Pragmatic Multilingualism in the Upper Xingu Speech Community. In Alto Xingu: Uma Sociedade Multilíngue. Bruna Franchetto (ed.), Rio de Janeiro: Museu do Indio – FUNAI: 87-111.
2011 (Book Review) Collected Works of Edward Sapir, I: General Linguistics. Pierre Swiggers (ed.). 2008. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Language in Society 40(1):124-125.
2006 Le commerce de la culture, la médecine rituelle et le Coca-cola. Co-authored with Marcelo Fiorini. Gradhiva 4. Musée du quai Branly, Paris: 97-113.
2005 Fazendo das línguas objetos: línguas em perigo de extinção e diversidade cultural. IPHAN – Revista do Patrimônio, No. 32: 207-221. Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional do Ministério da Cultura Brasília: 206-221.
2004 Repertoires of Registers: Dialect in Japanese Discourse. Language and Communication 24.4: 291-435.

Curriculum Vitae


286 Corbett Family Hall
(574) 631-6993