Associate Professor

Inma_CHAT_Headshot.jpg Website 241 Gladfelter Hall 1115 Polett Walk Philadelphia PA 19122 Expertise Linguistic Anthropology, Language Socialization, Immigrant Communities, Language and Culture in Educational Contexts, Language and Social Inequality, Narrative, Europe and North Africa

I am a linguistic anthropologist with a strong interdisciplinary training in anthropology, linguistics, and education.  My work examines immigrant children and youth's communicative practices, broadly conceived, in the contexts of educational institutions (both secular and religious), peer groups, and families, and across linguistic, cultural, and national boundaries.  My research agenda combines long-term ethnography and fine-grained discourse analysis of language use (in both interviews and everyday practices), along with archival and print material.  This approach allows me to contextualize everyday linguistic and sociocultural practices within a larger sociohistorical frame.  My research agenda offers a critical dialogue between linguistic anthropology, educational ethnography, and socio-cultural development of bi-/multilingual immigrant children and youth.  

My book entitled Language and Muslim Immigrant Childhoods: The Politics of Belonging (2014) is rooted in two years of ethnographic field study in southwestern Spain and Morocco.  The project examines how Moroccan immigrant children in Spain navigate the local and national politics of inclusion and exclusion in the wake of increased levels of surveillance directed toward Muslim and North African immigrants. Moroccan immigrant children walk a tightrope between difference and belonging as they simultaneously participate in their own immigrant community and in a "host" society deeply ambivalent about cultural change and the multicultural politics of "belonging" provoked by recent migratory trends. In contemporary Spain, this ambivalence resonates forcefully in the current geopolitical climate of suspicion surrounding Muslim and North African immigrants, who also embody the enduring historical residue of cultural representations of the Moor invaders of centuries past.  In light of this marginalization of Moroccan immigrants, whereby anxieties and historical resonances are conflated with issues of security and fears of religious fanaticism and terrorism, this book examines Moroccan immigrant children's everyday social engagements in and out of school with broader sociopolitical discourses implicated in establishing belonging or experiencing difference in their multiple communities.  Throughout this book, my approach focuses on the emergent qualities of immigrant children's everyday social interaction in relation to the dynamic and processual qualities of group formation, identification, and socialization.  This book project has implications for broader debates regarding immigrant youths' social and cultural welfare, and for efforts to address educational alienation among Muslim immigrant youth in Europe. My book project also contributes to the growing literature on the constitutive role of language and everyday interactions in the production of exclusion and inequality in social contexts of marginalization, particularly in relation to cultural, linguistic, and ethnic minority students. 

My most immediate research project considers how Moroccan immigrant children's language practices shape literacy processes in linguistic minority contexts.  In this project, I examine the linguistic repertoires displayed by these children in informal and formal learning contexts in order to identify commonalities in discursive practices across formal and informal learning contexts.  Bringing together a rich tradition of studies of literacy within linguistic anthropology and recent cultural-modeling research in immigrant and minority contexts, I focus on the generative points of continuity between, on one hand, the linguistic skills and literacy strategies involved in immigrant children's everyday communicative practices with family and peers and, on the other hand, the skills and strategies that are sanctioned by educational institutions, particularly in the Spanish Literacy Enhancement classes they have to attend. This project offers an original perspective on literacy processes among immigrant and minority children in that most studies done to date have emphasized home–school dichotomies rather than connections. 

Another current research endeavor brings together the stories of personal experiences of Moroccan immigrant children in Spain and Latino immigrant youth in the U.S.  In this comparative project, I highlight these children and youth’s own perspectives and understandings of their lived experience in relation to larger ideologies and discourses that have a long tradition of framing them as problems (e.g. an integration problem, an educational problem, a delinquency problem, a teen-pregnancy problem…etc).  In this project, I capitalize on immigrant children and youth's abilities to analyze their own social worlds and to reflect upon their lived experience in relation to the sociopolitical worlds and realities they occupy.  This project will allow me to speak to the similarities and differences in the issues affecting immigrant linguistic minorities cross-culturally. 

Research Gate Profile

Selected Publications


  • 2014: García Sánchez, I. M. Language and Muslim Immigrant Childhoods: The Politics of Belonging. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (Studies in Discourse and Culture series).

Journal articles and book chapters

  • 2017: García-Sánchez, I. M. and Nazimova, K.  Language Socialization and Immigration in Europe. In P.A. Duff, S. May (eds.), Language Socialization, vol 8. Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 3rd edition.  Springer International Publishing.  DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-02327-4_30-2.

    2017: Martín-Rojo, L., Anthonissen, C., García-Sánchez, I. M., and Unamuno, V. “Recasting Diversity in Language Education in Post-Colonial, Late-Capitalist Societies.” In DeFina, A., Ikizoglu, D. and Wegner, J. (eds.) Diversity and Super-Diversity: Sociocultural Linguistics Perspectives, pp. 171-190. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

    2017: García-Sánchez, I. M. “Friendship, Participation, and Multimodality in Moroccan Immigrant Girls’ Peer Groups”. In Theobald, M. (ed.), Friendship and Peer Culture in Multilingual Settings. Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, vol. 21, pp. 1-33. Emerald Books.

  • 2016: García-Sánchez, I. M. "Language Socialization and Marginalization." In Nancy Bonvillain (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology, pp. 159-174. New York: Routledge.
  • 2015: Reynolds, J. F., M. F. Orellana, & I. M. García-Sánchez. "In the Service of Surveillance: Immigrant Child Language Brokers in Parent-Teacher Conferences." Langage et Societé. Special issue on translation edited by A. C. Ticca and V. Traverso.
  • 2013: García Sánchez, I. M. "The Everyday Politics of 'Cultural Citizenship' Among North African Immigrant Children in Spain." Language and Communication 33:481-499.
  • 2013: García Sánchez, I. M. "Ochs, Elinor." In C. A. Chapelle (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2012: García Sánchez, I. M. "Language Socialization and Exclusion." In A. Duranti, E. Ochs, B. Schieffelin, eds. The Handbook of Language Socialization, pp. 391-420. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2011: García Sánchez, I. M., M. F. Orellana, & M. Hopkins. "Facilitating Intercultural Communication in Parent-Teacher Conferences: Lessons from Child Translators." Multicultural Perspectives 13(3):148-154.
  • 2010: García Sánchez, I. M. "Serious Games: Code-switching and Identity in Moroccan Immigrant Girls' Peer Groups." Pragmatics 20(4):523-555. Reprinted 2013 in S. Blum (ed.), Making Sense of Language: Readings in Culture and Communication, second edition, pp. 260-279. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2010: García Sánchez, I. M. "The Politics of Arabic Language Education: Moroccan Immigrant Children's Socialization into Ethnic and Religious Identities." Linguistics and Education 21(3):171-196.
  • 2010: García Sánchez, I. M. "(Re)shaping Practices in Translation: How Moroccan Immigrant Children and Families Navigate Continuity and Change." MediAzioni, Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies on Languages and Cultures 10:182-214. Special issue on "Child Language Brokering: Trends and Patterns in Current Research," R. Antonini, ed. Available online:
  • 2006: García Sánchez, I. M. & M. F. Orellana. "The Construction of Moral and Social Identity in Immigrant Children's Narratives-in-Translation." Linguistics and Education 17(3):209-239.
  • 2005: García Sánchez, I. M. "More than Just Games: Language Socialization in an Immigrant Children's Peer Group." Proceedings of the Thirteen Annual Symposium About Language and Society, Austin. Texas Linguistic Forum 49:61-71.

Book reviews

  • 2014: García-Sánchez, I. M. Review of Amy Paugh, Playing with Languages: Children and Change in the Caribbean. American Anthropologist 116(3): 21-22.
  • 2012: García-Sánchez, I. M. Review of Vally Lytra, Play Frames and Social Identities: Contact Encounters in a Greek Primary School. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 22(1):124-126.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

  • Language in Society (Anthropology 0815)
  • Fundamentals of Linguistic Anthropology (Anthropology 2507)
  • Language Socialization and Cultural Reproduction (Anthropology 3509)
  • Language as Social Action (Anthropology 3589)
  • Theory and Method in Linguistic Anthropology (Anthropology 3510)
  • Capstone in Linguistic Anthropology (Anthropology 4596)

Graduate Courses

  • Approaches in Linguistic Anthropology (Anthropology 8004)
  • Language and the Immigrant Experience (Anthropology 5501/5504)
  • Language Socialization and Cultural Reproduction (Anthropology 5509)
  • Methods in Linguistic Anthropology (Anthropology 5510)
  • Current Issues in Linguistic Anthropology (Anthropology 8550)