Karen Pennesi
Department of Anthropology

The University of
Western Ontario

Office: SSC 3404

(519) 661-2111
Ext. 85098

Fax: (519) 661-2157
e-mail: pennesi@uwo.ca
Address: Department of Anthropology
University of Western Ontario
London, ON
N6A 5C2



Research Interests

My research explores how language plays an integral part in the processes of constructing individual and group identities. The focus of my current work is on personal names, particularly the experiences of people whose names do not fit into the legal, institutional and conventional frameworks for the structure, spelling and pronunciation of names in Canada. As symbols of identity, I investigate how names influence self-perception and the unequal treatment of others. Working together with the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre, one aim of this research is to better understand the challenges of living in a linguistically and culturally diverse society. Click here for more information about this project and to explore my collection of news articles, audio clips and videos related to names.

My past work involves exploring the multiple meanings of weather and climate forecasts in different sociocultural and environmental contexts. An ethnographic and discourse-based perspective highlights communication issues emerging in these domains where science, local knowledge, culture and subjective experience intersect.

In addition to personal names and weather predictions, other areas of research that interest me include: verbal art and performance, agriculture-related discourse, linguistic expressions of traditional knowledge, communication between scientists and the public, and vulnerability of rural and Arctic populations to weather-related hazards.