May 15th 2013
Savery Hall 130
In June 2006 a four-minute video appeared on the internet showing a guitar-strumming Marine, singing of an American soldier lured into an ambush by an Iraqi woman. By the end of the song, “Hadji Girl” and the rest of her family are dead. What some termed an “obscenity-laced” refrain was greeted by a laughing, occasionally cheering audience of fellow soldiers, who particularly appreciated invocations of fake Arabic. What was for some “obscenity” was for others “just a joke.” The highly partisan response allows study of a discursive moment in which gender, race, and occupation are constructed and contested in the public blogosphere.
Applied Linguist Sandra Silberstein is Professor and MATESOL Director in the Department of English. She is author of numerous articles and books on second language studies and critical discourse analysis. Her work in the latter focuses on public discourses in times of national crisis, including the book War of Words: Language, Politics and 9-11.