Asif Agha Named Francis E. Johnston Term Professor
Asif Agha, Professor of Anthropology, has been named the Francis E. Johnston Term Professor. Agha is a leading linguistic anthropologist whose research examines the structure and organization of human language and its use in human affairs, as well as the role of language use and communication in giving rise to forms of social organization. His book Language and Social Relations received the Edward Sapir Prize for best book in linguistic anthropology.
Agha currently serves as President of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology within the American Anthropological Association, as editor of the journal Signs and Society, and as past editor of the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. He has also served on the Penn Arts and Sciences Planning and Priorities Committee and the Committee on Undergraduate Education.
This chair was created through the bequest of G. Frederick Roll, W’34 and is named in honor of Francis E. Johnston, a biological anthropologist and an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University. Professor Johnston, who completed his Ph.D. at Penn in 1962, was on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology for nearly four decades and served as Department Chair from 1982 to 1994. He also founded the Center for Community Partnerships' Urban Nutrition Initiative, a project which has helped to improve community nutrition and wellness in West Philadelphia.