Kristina Wirtz

Photo of Kristina Wirtz
Kristina Wirtz
Chair and Professor of Spanish
(269) 387-3105
(269) 387-3103
409 Sprau Tower, Mail Stop 5338
Mailing address: 
Department of Spanish
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5338 USA
Office hours: 

By appointment.

  • Ph.D., Linguistic and Cultural Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2003
Research interests: 
  • Linguistic and sociocultural anthropology: history, methods and theory; African Diaspora, Caribbean, Latin America and the United States
  • Semiotics and discourse analysis: language and idendity, ritual and performance, language ideologies and metacommunicative awareness, bilingualism, language learning and socialization, linguistic marginalization, temporality, enregisterment
  • Race and racialization: processual and historical approaches, anthropology of history and memory, critical race theory, diaspora, Black Atlantic, performativity, embodiment, mobility

Dr. Kristina Wirtz is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist in the Department of Spanish at Western Michigan University. She studies popular religion, race and performance in eastern Cuba and linguistic diversity, identity and inequality in the U.S. Wirtz has published two books:

  • Ritual, Discourse and Community in Cuban Santería (University of Florida Press, 2007)
  • Performing Afro-Cuba: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History (University of Chicago Press, 2014; winner of 2015 Edward Sapir Prize from the Society for Linguistic Anthropology).

She has also published articles on topics including ritual speech, hazardous (ritual) waste and Afro-Cuban folklore societies. Her most recent publication is, "The living, the dead, and the immanent: Dialogue across chronotopes.” In addition to almost two decades of field research in Cuba, Wirtz is also working on a long-term linguistic ethnography of how children learn to be bilingual in a dual language elementary school in the U.S. She enjoys teaching about the theory and methods of semiotics, discourse analysis and ethnography, as well as about language, history and culture in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Wirtz's home page