Department Chair:
Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway, Associate Professor/Chair

Administrative Assistant:
Jackie Fortino

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8970
Fax: (440) 775-8644

King Building 305
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074-1019

Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway

Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway

Associate Professor/Chair of Anthropology (2008)

Contact Information


King 320A
(440) 775-5014

Personal Office Hours:
TR 11:00 - Noon or by appointment

Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway

Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway

Erika Hoffmann

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Oakland University, 2000
  • Master of Arts, University of Michigan, 2003
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University Michigan, 2008

My research has two major areas of focus. The first project centers on Nepali Sign Language (NSL) and d/Deaf social life in Nepal. I have published articles about local efforts to standardize NSL, the ethnolinguistic politics of Deafness in Nepal, the effects of social context on the linguistic abilities of d/Deaf persons who were not exposed to language during childhood or adolescence, and the social consequences of Deaf/hearing interactions in a popular restaurant chain in Kathmandu. My second project examines the online circulation of sign language texts written using Sutton SignWriting (SW), a visually iconic script that represents movements of the body and face. Small groups of signers in over 30 countries participate in this online network. I have published an article analyzing texts produced by SW users, and the metalinguistic discussion of these texts on an email listserve, to demonstrate that use of SW allows its users to articulate and challenge dominant, and often tacit, ideologies about the nature of language and writing. I have recently conducted research in two centers for SW use, Malta and Germany, and I plan to expand on this work in the coming years. These projects inform, and are informed by, my teaching at Oberlin. My courses currently on offer include, Introduction to ANTH 204 Linguistic Anthropology, ANTH 243 Language and the Body: Embodied Communication in Cross-cultural Perspective, and ANTH 306 Literacies in Social Context. I have also offered independent readings on Sign Language Linguistics, and American Sign Language Performance Traditions. Publications: Hoffmann-Dilloway, Erika (2011). Ordering Burgers, Reordering Relations: Gestural interactions between hearing and d/Deaf Nepalis. Pragmatics 21(3): 373-391. Hoffmann-Dilloway, Erika (2011). Writing the Smile: Language ideologies in, and through, sign language scripts. Language and Communication 31(4): 435-355. Hoffmann-Dilloway, Erika (2011). Lending a Hand: Competence Through Cooperation in Nepal’s Deaf Associations. Language in Society 40(3): 385-306. Hoffmann-Dilloway, Erika (2010). Many Names for Mother: The Ethno-linguistic Politics of Deafness in Nepal. South Asia: The Journal of South Asian Studies 33(3): 421-441. Hoffmann-Dilloway, Erika (2008). Metasemiotic Regimentation in the Standardization of Nepali Sign Language. The Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 18(2): 192-213.