Assistant Professor; Department of Anthropology
Advisory Committee; Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Collaborative Graduate Program
Sarah Hillewaert (PhD University of Michigan) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus. She specializes in linguistic responses to globalization and urbanization, language and youth culture, language ideologies and semiotic ideologies, language and religion; Kenya, Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean World. Her teaching interests and responsibilities include linguistic anthropology, semiotic anthropology, anthropology of Islam, and studies of youth culture.
Dr Hillewaert’s research focuses on the range of ways in which young people negotiate social relations and positions in contexts of social change and globalization. More specifically, it investigates the linguistic and semiotic strategies youth deploy to express their orientations to development, modernity, religion, heritage, and tradition.
Her work on Lamu (Kenya) discusses how young people use accents and language mixing as well as bodily comportment and greeting styles to negotiate new sets of social and economic relationships and altering understandings of moral personhood. Through an analysis of their daily practices, Dr Hillewaert demonstrates that young people do not leave norms of propriety behind, but are in fact concerned with what it means to be a virtuous person in a rapidly changing society.
Dr Hillewaert’s newer research looks at how young people’s notions of religious identity and historical conceptions of global interconnectivity along the Swahili coast shift in tandem with emerging geopolitical positions and technological innovations. She is particularly interested in how an altered access to translocal discourses changes notions of moral communities and conceptions of belonging.
2009 “Do Dictionary Users Really Look Up Frequent Words? – On the Overestimation of the Value Of Corpus-based Lexicography.” de Schryver Gilles-Maurice, David Joffe, Pitta Joffe and Sarah Hillewaert. In Lexicography. Bangalore: Icfai University Press.
2006 “Do Dictionary Users Really Look Up Frequent Words? – On the Overestimation of the Value of Corpus-based Lexicography.” de Schryver Gilles-Maurice, David Joffe, Pitta Joffe and Sarah Hillewaert Lexikos 16 (Afrilex 16) (2006).
2006 Grenzen aan de Solidariteit, (Boundaries to Solidarity). Jan Blommaert, Kristel Beyens, Henk Meert, Sarah Hillewaert, Kristof Verfaillie, Karen Stuyck & Anke Dewilde Gent: Academia Press (2006)