Website: Prof. Stephens
EDUCATION & RESEARCH INTERESTS
A Professor of Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey since 1981, Stephens has served as Rutgers’ Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) to the NCAA since 2002. He holds a B.A. in Spanish Education and an M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics from the University of Michigan. His research and teaching focus on race and ethnicity in Latin America and questions of language in social contexts. He is author of Dictionary of Latin American Racial and Ethnic Terminology (University Press of Florida, 1989; 2nd edition, 1999) and A Game of Mirrors: The Changing Face of Ethno-racial Constructs and Language in the Americas (University Press of America, 2003) and of a number of journal articles.
Currently, Stephens is compiling and editing the 3rd edition of his Dictionary with J. Maddox. This edition consists of hundreds of revisions, additions, and emendations and extends the corpus by including lexical items for categories that some may consider borderline ethnic lexemes, e.g., gays, lesbians, prostitutes, pimps, etc., as they relate to other racial and ethnic concepts. In addition, with M. Makris, he is working on a manuscript tentatively titled Convenient Untruths: Language, Race, Ethnicity, and Racism in a Non-Post-Racial Latin America. The latter project treats various topics relating to real language use and cultural cues that trigger racial, if not racist, reactions.
Stephens, who assists his Department as Assistant Graduate Director, has served on many departmental, college, university, and national committees, including the Executive Council of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, the Executive Committee of the American Portuguese Studies Association, the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association, the Executive Board of the 1A FAR, t he Executive Board of the Faculty Athletics Representative Association, the Academic Oversight Committee for Intercollegiate Athletics at Rutgers, and the Big East Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as FAR liaison.