Graham Jones

Graham M Jones

Primary Field
Linguistic Anthropology
Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Anthropology
Knowledge / Expertise
Interest/Specialty Areas Linguistic anthropology, knowledge and rationality, magic science and religion

I am a cultural and linguistic anthropologist who explores how people use language and other media to enact expertise in practice, performance, and interaction. After studying literature at Reed College (BA, 1998) and anthropology at New York University (PhD, 2007), I was a postdoctoral member of the Princeton Society of Fellows (2007-2010). My two monographs constitute a diptych: Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician's Craft (California, 2011) describes day-to-day life and everyday talk within the insular subculture of contemporary French illusionists;  Magic's Reason: An Anthropology of Analogy (Chicago, 2017) examines the meaning of magic in Western modernity, shuttling between the intellectual history of anthropology and the cultural history of popular entertainment. Alongside these books, I have a third set of projects investigating how language and culture shape, and are in turn shaped by, the way people use technologies of digital communication. At MIT, I teach classes on a range of subjects, including the anthropology of education; the language of mediated communication; and ethnographic research methods.

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