Crispin Thurlow

Associate Professor

Ph.D. Language and Communication, Cardiff University, UK

Office: UW2-318
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246












I have been at the University of Washington since 2003, joining the IAS faculty at the start of 2011. In 2007, I was honored to receive the UW’s Distinguished Teaching Award. I’ve always really enjoyed both the “theatrics” and “politics” of pedagogy. What this means for me is that learning is most effective, most engaging when it happens through embodied, face-to-face interactions between me and my students. I also see my job as a public scholar – a scholar at a public university – to help create opportunities for as many students as possible to discover different ways of thinking and new ways of being critical. And being critical means more than simply identifying the pros and cons; it means searching for “hidden agendas”, interrogating the taken-for-granted and doubting anyone who tells us something's good for us. My job as a teacher is therefore not just to pump knowledge into students but to challenge them and to help them challenge others. It is in this way that I too am challenged.

Recent Courses Taught

BCUSP 178 Introduction to Communication
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 317 Language, Society and Culture
BISMCS 473 Visual Communication
BISGST 497 Topics in Global Studies: Language and Globalization
BCULST 510 Engaging Cultural Studies
BCULST 593 Topics in Cultural Studies: Discourse & Sexuality
BCULST 593 Topics in Cultural Studies: Tourism as Global Culture


I am interested in the ways people use language and other semiotic modes to make sense of social difference in everyday communication. Specifically, I am keen to understand how identities of privilege and ideologies of inequality are discursively organized/sustained. This may be achieved through face-to-face exchanges, in mediatized representations (e.g. newspapers, magazines) or in the contexts of "new" media. My work draws on a range of academic traditions concerned with language and communication: sociolinguistics, discourse studies, linguistic anthropology and cultural studies. More broadly, it is framed by Critical Discourse Studies and Critical Intercultural Studies, two academic traditions that embrace more contemporary views of both culture and cultural identity (see Thurlow, 2010). The main topics at the centre of my current research agenda are Tourism Discourse and Global Mobility, and Digital Discourse and Young People (see recent publications below). As a member of the University of Washington's Graduate Faculty, I am always interested in working with graduate students who share an interest in my main areas of interest.

Selected Publications

Thurlow, C & Mroczek, K. (eds). (2011). Digital Discourse: Language in the New Media. New York & London: Oxford University Press.

Thurlow, C. & Jaworski, A. (2010). Tourism Discourse: Language and Global Mobility. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Jaworski, A. & Thurlow, C. (eds). (2010). Semiotic Landscapes: Language, Image, Space. London & New York: Continuum.