Research

I am interested in the relationship between language and social norms and values. I see language as an immensely powerful tool. It’s not just a means of sharing information; it also shapes what we believe, how we feel, how we act, and even what there is in the world.  I’m especially interested in the relationship between language and systems of oppression (which Toni Morrison describes wonderfully in her Nobel Prize Lecture). My work is a combination of philosophy of language (especially speech act theory), ethics, and feminist philosophy. I also like to draw from linguistics, sociology, and law.

My PhD project,  ‘Speech, Sex, and Social Norms’, funded by the Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership and supervised by Rae Langton and Clare Chambers, explored different ways norms of gender and sexuality are enforced through speech.

I run a weekly philosophy of language reading group at Cambridge; you can sign up to the mailing list here.

Papers

My current working papers (at different stages of review) include:

  • ‘Blaming and Shaming’
  • ‘Sluts and Slurs’
  • ‘Cat-Calling and Compliments’
  • ‘The Nature of Uptake’
  • ‘On Flirting’
  • ‘Speech Acts and Time’
  • ‘Policing Speech’

I also contributed a chapter about the speech act of ‘throwing shade’ to RuPaul’s Drag Race and Philosophy.