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Lauren Zentz

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Associate Professor

Lauren Zentz

Dr. Zentz specializes in issues related to nationalism and state formation, online communication, politics/political activism, and language socialization and identity. In her current research project, titled "The Discourses of Internet Political Organization" (DIPO), she has conducted ethnographic studies of political activists' organizing practices on social media platforms (resulting in the book, "Narrating Stance, Morality, and Political Identity: Building a Movement on Facebook," Routledge, 2021). Her current book project, also a part of the larger DIPO project, is titled "Echo Chambers and Epistemological Bubbles: Corporate Media, Neoliberal Governance, and Communicative Flirtation with the End of Democracy." In this project, an autoethnographic and critical discourse analytic endeavor, she is examining mass media discourses (via news organization websites as well as select news providers' Twitter feeds) dating from the 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection January 6th, through the 100th day of the Biden Presidency, with a particular eye to national debates about and reckonings with the nature of our democracy as we transitioned from the Trump Presidency to the Biden Presidency. In Dr. Zentz's prior work, she focused on Indonesian nationalism and state formation, Indonesian language policies, and language learning and identity among English majors in Central Java.


  • Ph.D., University of Arizona 
  • M.A., University of Ottawa 
  • B.A., B.S., University of Florida      

Selected Publications



  • Zentz, L. (forthcoming). #LadiesWeGotYou: Stances of Moral-Political Alignment in the Formation of Group Identity on Facebook. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 
  • Zentz, L. (forthcoming). “I AM HERE AND I MATTER”: Virtue Signaling and Moral-Political Stance in Progressive Activists’ Facebook Posts. Narrative Inquiry. 
  • Zentz, L. (forthcoming). Scaling up and scaling down: Progressive activists rescaling the nation on Facebook. New Media and Society. 
  • Zentz, L. (2019). Moving languages: syncretism and shift in Central Java. In Goebel, Z., Cole, D., & Mann, H. (eds.), Contact Talk: The Discursive Organization of Contact and Boundaries, pp. 53-71.  Routledge. 
  • Zentz, L. (2019). ‘Episode hari ini disponsori oleh Nü Green Tea’ [Today’s episode is sponsored by Nü Green Tea]: Rapport and virtuoso humor in group interviews. In Goebel, Z. (ed.), "Rapport and the Discursive Co-Construction of Social Relations in Fieldwork Settings," pp. 33-52. De Gruyter. 

Honors, Awards and Grants Received

  • 2020: $2,300 CLASS Project Completion Grant, University of Houston 
  • 2017$6,000 Research Progress Grant, CLASS, University of Houston 
  • 2016$10,000 Grant from Hobby Center for Public Policy, University of Houston 
  • 2016: Runner-up, Ton Vallen Award, Babylon Center for the Study of Superdiversity, Tilburg University, Netherlands. Awarded October 2016. (Article submitted: Zentz, L., 2015. “Love” the local, “use” the national, “study” the foreign: Shifting Javanese Language Ecologies in (Post-)Modernity, Postcoloniality, and Globalization. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 24(3): 339–359.) 
  • 2015: New Faculty Research Grant, University of Houston             

Classes Taught

Graduate level 
  • Bakhtin & the Internet, online course 
  • Socializing the Nation in the Internet Age, online course 
  • Discourse Analysis 
  • Introduction to Applied Linguistics 
  • Language in Postcoloniality and Globalization 

Undergraduate level

  • Bakhtin & the Internet, online course 
  • Socializing the Nation in the Internet Age, online course 
  • Introduction to the Study of Language, face to face and online 
  • Introduction to Sociolinguistics, face to face and online 
  • Language Socialization, face to face and online 
  • Grammar and Usage, face to face and online 
  • Empirical and Theoretical Approaches to Syntax, face to face 

Research Interests

  • Online communication in politics/political organizing 
  • Nationalism, state formation and democracy 
  • Language socialization and identity 

Current Book Project

  • "Echo Chambers and Epistemological Bubbles: Corporate Media, Neoliberal Governance, and Communicative Flirtation with the End of Democracy" 

Affiliations and Links

Full CV in PDF

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