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Dr. Terra Edwards

Saint Louis University, Anthropology

Research Themes: 

The Communicating Mind and Body

Terra Edwards is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Saint Louis University. Her research is concerned with the social and interactional foundations of language and language-use. For the past decade, she has been pursuing this interest in DeafBlind communities in the United States where a new language known as protactile American Sign Language (or “PTASL”) is emerging. Over the past 10 years, this language has broken away from the scaffolding of visual American Sign Language and has become increasingly rooted in the tactile and proprioceptive senses. Her research aims to understand the social and interactional processes driving this divergence and in doing so, to contribute to questions in linguistics and anthropology about how patterns in perception, language, and interaction are shaped by and respond to broader socio-cultural processes. Her research, supported by grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the National Science Foundation, has been published in Language in Society, the Journal of Pragmatics, and the language sciences section of Frontiers in Psychology.

Research Interests

The social and interactional foundations of language and language-use.