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Cheryl Yin (current co-director)

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Cheryl Yin is a linguistic anthropologist with expertise in Cambodia and the Khmer language. She is currently a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. She is currently revising her book manuscript Language & Morality: Being Modern in Early 21st Century Cambodia (working title). Her research argues that contestations about Khmer language are ultimately contestations about how to (re)define Cambodian national identity after decades of turmoil and then accelerated economic growth. Cheryl earned her PhD in linguistic anthropology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She earned her BA from Pitzer College, double majoring in Anthropology and Linguistics.

As the daughter of Cambodian refugees of Chinese descent, her research and teaching interests all relate to her personal background. Born in the ethnically diverse city of Long Beach, California; growing up in a multilingual household; and witnessing social inequality, Cheryl seeks to understand her own sense of identity as well as the circumstances that have impacted her community. And as a first-generation student, Cheryl would like to be a mentor and role model for other underrepresented students, particularly those who are interested in studying their own communities. By empowering students and showing them that they too are knowledge producers, Cheryl hopes more students will pursue their own research interests with the intention that this will eventually diversify academia and academic knowledge.

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