Meet Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Drawing on multiple projects in Indigenous Southern Peru, Ben Smith’s publications have developed a more thoroughly semiotic, sociopolitical, and non-human approach to language socialization.

Smith is currently working on a new edition of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Language Socialization with co-editor Elise Berman. Among its goals, this piece frames the paradigm as a “big tent” enterprise that includes multiple approaches to language and culture, aims to highlight the paradigm’s sociopolitical purchase, and continues conversations with adjacent fields.

Other work includes a book proposal related to Smith’s project on digital gaming, race, and the socialization of aspiration in Indigenous Southern Peru, and he is working on a manuscript that considers the consequences of recent work in critical adoption studies for theories of kinship and socialization. Smith has a longstanding interest in the history of psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic discourse in the 20th-century United States, and his ideas for future projects increasingly draw on his experiences as an adoptee, foster child, and intersex person.

Ben Smith is an Associate Professor of Human Development at Sonoma State University. He will be in residence at the University of Chicago during the spring of 2024 as a visiting scholar in the Department of Anthropology. Smith earned a joint PhD in Comparative Human Development and Linguistics from the University of Chicago, where the linguistic anthropology program in the Department of Anthropology was central to his doctoral training.