Dr. Robin Conley
Visiting Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology




B.A. (Anthropology and Linguistics), New York University
M.A. (Anthropology), University of California, Los Angeles
Ph.D. (Linguistic Anthropology), University of California, Los Angeles


Dr. Conley's research focuses on legal and institutional discourse, violence and empathy in democratic processes, ethnographic methods and theory, and gender and language in society. Her research has focused on two distinct legal contexts. She previously conducted research on a transsexual marriage trial and currently investigates Texas death penalty cases to demonstrate how legal discourse requires the making and unmaking of persons into human beings. The transsexual marriage trial addressed the legal, medical, and linguistic constraints on transgendered identity construction and the narrative tools actual jurors use to make decisions. Based on extensive fieldwork from Texas cases, Dr. Conley investigates Texas death penalty trials to illustrate how language constructs defendants as particular legal, moral, and cultural subjects and how these constructions influence jurors' decisions. Because it has the ability to deny specific aspects of personhood and operates as a particular form of discursive violence, Dr. Conley argues that legal discourse requires the making and unmaking of persons into human beings.


Dr. Conley currently teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, including an honors section; Language, Gender, and the Body; and The Ethnography of Law. Last semester, she taught Theory in Ethnology: Ethnography and the Concept of Culture and The Anthropology of Globalization.


Dr. Conley serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Anthropology Club at Marshall.  She is a member of The American Anthropological Association, the Southern Anthropology Society, and the Law and Society Association. 


Contact Info
Telephone: (304) 696-2788
Email: conleyr@marshall.edu