Ben Papadopoulos (he or they)
IPA: [bɛn pa.pa.ðo.pu.los]
Ph.D. Student, Graduate Student Instructor
University of California, Berkeley
Email: bpapadopoulos [at] berkeley [dot] edu
I am from Roseville, California, a suburb of Sacramento. I've loved reading and writing since I was little kid. Books made me cool—I had about a million rainbow Accelerated Reader charms and I wore them proudly around the playground. One of my first original stories was entitled "The Finger". It was a wholesale ripoff of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I wanted to be her soooo badly. But alas, no superpowers, and no blonde hair.
When I was 11, my family relocated to Boise, ID out of necessity. My family is great but that state is not. I immersed myself even more in my schoolwork with the hope that getting into a good college would be my ticket out. When I began my first Spanish class at age twelve, I became obsessed. Throughout high school, I took Spanish, French, and German concurrently and they were always my favorite subjects. Based on that, I thought I would pursue linguistics in college, but I barely knew a thing about linguistics.
It was always my dream to attend UC Berkeley, especially because it's located in the California Bay Area, and because I felt like I could actually grow and become myself there. I worked as hard as I possibly could in school to get into Cal, and right after I was admitted in April 2014, I came out to my family and friends, all of whom supported me, and I left Idaho.
I returned to UC Berkeley as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in the Fall of 2019. In my time as a graduate student thus far, I have been able to teach, which has been a dream of mine since I was in elementary school, and to keep learning, researching, and sharing my findings. My current research has two main themes: (truly) queering gender and its treatment in the formal subdisciplines of linguistics, and strengthening the intersection between sociolinguistics and critical sociology. My approach is to make people, their identities, and the power structures underlying their use of language central to my community-oriented study of linguistics. Some of my current research is based around nonbinary gender in masculine-feminine gender languages, especially Spanish, in which there are many community-originated innovations (e.g. latinx, elle 'they [sg.]') that have yet to be theorized. I also work with a team of researchers, including community members, in developing the Gender in Language Project, which compiles gender-inclusive forms in many languages and explains their usage to those who need this language the most. If you'd like to get involved, please feel free to email me at the address above. Being in graduate school has been difficult, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but so rewarding.
My surname, Papadopoulos, is Greek (Παπαδόπουλος). I am a white queer person and a proud product of public schools, among other things.
I acknowledge with respect the Ohlone people on whose land I have done most of my academic work.*
And yes, that's my handwriting!