Transitions Podcast
AAA Annual Meeting Podcasts – 2023/2022
Monica Heller: The Significance of Language in Social Relations

In this episode of the AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting podcast, Monica Heller talks with guest host Isabelle LeBlanc about the theme of transitions and her work in linguistic anthropology. She highlights the multicultural and multilingual nature of the city, emphasizing the importance of understanding diversity and inequality. Monica shares her experiences of conducting ethnography in Toronto and the significance of language in building social relations.

About Monica Heller

Monica Heller is currently President of the Canadian Anthropology Society/Société canadienne d’anthropologie. She is also a Past President of the American Anthropological Association. Professor emerita at the University of Toronto, she is a linguistic anthropologist interested broadly in the role of language in the making of social difference and social inequality. More specifically she follows the development of ideologies and practices linking language, nation and State in francophone Canada.

About Isabelle LeBlanc

Isabelle LeBlanc is an Assistant Professor at the University of Moncton’s Department of French Studies since 2019. Her research delves into the intersection between feminist theories and critical sociolinguistics, examining biographical methods in sociolinguistics, sociolinguistic narratives, family language policies, the interplay of gender ideologies and linguistic ideologies, as well as discourses on sexual violence. She teaches various subjects, including methodology, sociolinguistics, language history, linguistic anthropology, language policies, and the relationship between language and gender (feminization, inclusive writing, etc.). Isabelle also collaborates with the Canada Research Chair in Acadian and Transnational Studies at the University of Sainte-Anne and co-founded the Research Group on Archives and Women in Acadia (GRAFA). She participates in the research project “Rethinking Acadia in the World: Comparative and Transnational Studies” and serves as a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Diversity and Equity (LGBTQ2+)

About the 2023 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting

The 2023 /CASCA Annual Meeting is being held Nov. 15-19 in Toronto, Canada. The theme for this year is Transitions. Transitions may be the most constant feature of everyday life. With endless uncertainties that are exacerbated by political turmoil, pandemic unpredictability, and climate crisis, our quotidian experiences are steeped in mutability. Transitions present us with both challenges and opportunities, not only in our everyday lives but also in our work as anthropologists. We hope that transitions may be something that we can approach with a sense of experimentation, imagination, and play, rather than a growing state of exhaustion and dread. As we navigate these transitions, we continue to think about how anthropology can rise to face our current condition, or ways it may fall short. For more information, visit

About the AAA

Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.

It publishes a portfolio of 22 journals, offer career planning and professional development services, support college and university departments, award numerous prizes and fellowships, sponsor a paid summer internship program, and stage research conferences in the Fall and Spring each year.


The Canadian Anthropology Society/Société canadienne d’anthropologie is a bilingual organization operating at a national level with the mandate to promote anthropology in Canada; support anthropological research; disseminate anthropological knowledge in the academic milieu and to the wider public.

La société canadienne d’anthropologie est une organisation bilingue opérant au niveau national et qui a pour mandat de : promouvoir l’anthropologie au Canada; soutenir la recherche anthropologique; diffuser la connaissance de cette discipline dans le milieu académique et dans le public en général.

About Matt Artz

Matt Artz is a business and design anthropologist, consultant, author, speaker, and creator. He writes, speaks, and consults in user experience, product management, and business strategy. He creates products, podcasts, music, and visual art. His podcasts include Anthropology in Business and Anthro to UX.