I am currently serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and a Professor of Linguistics. I previously was a Dean and Professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and for ten years a Professor (adjunct) in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University. My PhD is from Yale University in 1991, and I have held teaching positions at Yale, Georgetown, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
I am a specialist in South Slavic languages and linguistics, and have worked primarily on sociolinguistic issues in the former Yugoslavia. I have explored issues of language, nationalism, and ethnic identity both in Tito's Yugoslavia and in the years following Yugoslavia's breakup. My publications include numerous books and articles on South Slavic and Balkan Slavic topics. My book, Language and Identity in the Balkans (Oxford University Press, 2004, second revised and expanded edition, 2008), received an award in 2005 for the best book in Slavic Linguistics from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. In 2010 I was the recipient of the William Clyde DeVane medal for excellence in teaching and scholarship at Yale University.
My current research projects focus on the language policies in the Yugoslav successor states, especially Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. I have also interested in how language issues are used to inflame ethnic and political tensions. In this regard, I have recently been comparing and contrasting the situation in contemporary Ukraine with that in the former Yugoslavia in the period leading up to including the wars of the 1990s.