Meet The Professors

by Kat Weigle

UTSA’s English department is known for attracting top-notch professorial talent. Here’s an opportunity to glimpse the personalities behind the PhDs!

Sonja Lanehart, PhD.

Dr. Lanehart is one of our esteemed Linguistics professors who is doing amazing things with #BlackLivesMatter, including an overwhelmingly cross-listed course happening spring 2016.

Can you tell a bit about your background that we won’t find on your CV?

I used to be an avid tennis and softball player. Bad feet have been my nemesis. I started playing tennis in high school because of a boy I liked. I started playing softball in college because of a boy I liked (and later married). I turned down an athletic scholarship for tennis because I wanted to go to a better school than tennis would afford me academically.

What is your favorite class to teach?

My favorite class to teach is “Language and Uses of Identity” because it’s what I do. I’ve only taught it once at UTSA, but I enjoy it.

What is your favorite field of research/specific research interests?

I am most interested in using Critical Race Theory in understanding language use and identity as well as social and educational movements and policies.

What is your favorite space in San Antonio?

My favorite space in San Antonio is the Pearl Brewery. I love the restaurants, the museum, the Riverwalk, and the living spaces there that I can’t afford :-)

Is there a literary figure you could name who had a profound impact on you personally or academically?

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple had a profound impact on me because of the use of African American Language throughout the entire novel. It was liberating. Also, Toni Morrison has had an impact on me academically because of her brilliance. Playing in the Dark is the best academic book I’ve ever read.

Do you have a guilty pleasure, pop culture or otherwise?

I am a Black Nerd and proud of it. I love "Doctor Who" and "Star Trek".

Continuing this theme of geekdom, Who's your favorite Doctor?

David Tennant is my favorite Doctor. He’s a brilliant actor, has a great sense of humor, and was the most complicated.

Who's your favorite companion?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I really like Donna because she’s so funny and I love her rapport with Tennant.

In your esteemed opinion, which is the best Star Trek Series? Worst?

The Original Series and The Next Generation are the best Star Treks. The worst one was the Scott Bakula one.* See, I can’t even remember the name of it.
*Editor's note: That would be Enterprise, and I don't think anyone actually liked it.

And lastly, best captain?

My favorite is Captain James Tiberius Kirk, of course. I also like Jean Luc and Sisco.

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