Robin Conley Riner

Dr. Riner is professor of anthropology at Marshall. She has conducted ethnographic research on death penalty trials across Texas, investigating how the use of language shapes jurors’ experiences during trials and impacts their life and death decisions. Her book, Confronting the Death Penalty, published by Oxford University Press (2016), explores how jurors use language to counter moments of empathy they share with defendants, thereby justifying their decisions for death.

Dr. Riner is also engaged in multiple projects that seek to understand the experiences of military veterans and help with issues that they face in their post-service lives. The first, Testament, is an ongoing project funded by the WV Humanities Council that trains veterans to lead discussion groups centered around humanities texts about war with other veterans throughout W.V. An additional project uses ethnography to explore yoga and other forms of collaborative, embodied interaction as resources for veterans struggling with moral injury.

Dr. Riner teaches courses in cultural, linguistic, and legal anthropology. She has been a member of the Women’s Studies Board since 2012 and co-produces their production, Body Shots, every year. She also teaches dance in the community and performs with a local modern dance company, Jeslyn Dance Gallery.

Dr. Riner currently serves as the faculty representative to the Marshall Board of Governors and is the Faculty Ombuds for the university. Please email or visit our website to make an appointment with the Office of the Ombuds.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected publications

Riner, Robin Conley and Bryan Carnes. 2024. Moral conflict in a (post)war story: Narrative as enactment of and reflection on moral injury. Ethos 1:1-16. Moral conflict in a (post)war story: Narrative as enactment of and reflection on moral injury – Riner – Ethos – Wiley Online Library

Conley Riner, Robin. 2023. Language and violence. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. (Language and Violence | Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology)

Duranti, A., R. George, and R. Conley Riner, eds. (2023). A New Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. Wiley Blackwell.

Black, S.P. and Conley Riner, R. (2022) Care as a Methodological Stance: Research ethics in linguistic anthropology. In S. Perrino and S. Pritzker (eds.), Research Methods in Linguistic Anthropology. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Conley, J., W. O’Barr and R. Conley Riner (2019). Just Words: Law, Language, and Power, 3rd edition. University of Chicago Press.

N. Avineri, L. Graham, E. Johnson, J. Rosa, Conley, R. (2019) with and J. Rosa, eds. Language and Social Justice in Practice. Routledge.

Conley, R. (2016). Confronting the Death Penalty: How language influences jurors in capital cases. Oxford University Press.

Conley, R. (with N. Avineri). (2016) The Confederate Flag and the Lives of Symbols. Huffington Post: The Blog.

Conley, R. (2013). Living with the Decision that Someone Will Die: Linguistic distance and empathy in jurors’ death penalty decisions. Language in Society.

Conley, R. (2008). “At the time she was a man”: The temporal dimension of identity construction. Political and Legal Anthropology Review 31(1):28-47. PDF

Selected courses

ANT201/ANT201H: Cultural Anthropology
ANT 371: Linguistic Anthropology
ANT 372: Methods in Language and Culture
ANT361: Ethnographic Research
ANT 460: Crime and Custom
ANT472: Language, Gender, and the Body
ANT491: Theory in Ethnology