Dr. Jessica Chandras

Visiting Assistant Professor

Cultural Anthropology

Office: 112 Piccolo Building


Email: chandrj@nullwfu.edu

Dr. Chandras studied at the University of Washington where she completed her BA with Honors in Anthropology and a minor in Spanish in 2010. She then received her PhD in 2019 from the George Washington University in linguistic anthropology studying multilingual practices in middle-class education in Pune, India. Her current research in India and the United States examines values attached to language and practices of multilingual language socialization pertaining to education through a lens of power. She focuses on the political economy of language through intersections of language and identity categories, such as socioeconomic class, caste, and politics of language revitalization movements. In her first book project, titled Mother Tongue Aspirations: The Sociolinguistics of Privilege and Education in Urban India, she explores structures of systemic caste and class discrimination in urban middle-class education in Maharashtra, to present a critique of the entanglements of power, privilege, and identity to argue that education is a foil for unfolding and fungible social distinctions. Building on this project, Dr. Chandras is also working on projects in India and the United States analyzing the educational and linguistic needs of students from marginalized communities and their connections to language in mainstream education and education development NGOs. Contributions to scholarship from these projects, along with other work-in-progress situates educational equity through discourse intersecting with privilege and identity. A main goal that encompasses her overall work is to broaden understanding of the cultural contexts of learning through theories of aspiration and promises of prestige through social and physical mobility for underrepresented groups. She has published in journals such as Critical Asian Studies, Teaching Anthropology, Education About Asia, and in digital anthropological scholarly outlets such as the Footnotes Blog and CaMP Anthropology. In her spare time she enjoys walking her dog, Olive, and working on her podcast, Language Memoirs, which explores people’s intimate connections of language to and pivotal points in life concerning their identities.