Dr. Cheryl Yin is a linguistic anthropologist with expertise in Cambodia and the Khmer language. Her dissertation “Khmer Honorifics: Re-emergence and Change After the Khmer Rouge” examined the sociolinguistic legacies of the Khmer Rouge communist regime (1975-79) in contemporary Cambodia. Khmer honorific registers encode in conversation the social identities, relationships, and attitudes of speech participants. By paying close attention to how Khmer honorific use is changing, Dr. Yin was able to trace and observe shifting views of hierarchy, inequality, and respect in recent Cambodian history.
As a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Yin will revise her dissertation into a book manuscript entitled Language, Equality, and Modernity in Contemporary Cambodia. Additionally, she will begin a new project: “My Great-Grandfather’s First Wife: Alternative Legacies of Chinese Migration.” Envisioned as a documentary, this project will focus on the impact of Chinese migration into Southeast Asia from the point of view of the women, families, and villages left behind. While much of the literature focuses on the men who left China, her work will center the voices of those who are often forgotten in conversations about Chinese migration.
Dr. Yin received her PhD and MA in Anthropology, specializing in Linguistic Anthropology, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She earned her BA from Pitzer College, double majoring in Anthropology and Linguistics. As a first-generation student, born and raised in Long Beach, CA, Cheryl is committed to mentoring students from minoritized backgrounds and looks forward to continuing her outreach in the UC Berkeley community.