Andrew Carruthers

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

University Museum Room 426 


Andrew M. Carruthers is a linguistic and sociocultural anthropologist specializing in Malay-speaking maritime Southeast Asia. He studies the relation between language, mobilities, and infrastructures as a source of insight into the ways people navigate shifting and potentially hazardous terrains in their everyday lives.

His ethnographic fieldwork has centered on the Bugis — a mobile, seafaring people who have long irregularly migrated from Indonesia to nearby Malaysia “in search of moreness.” His current book manuscript evaluates the meaning and materiality of “moreness” for this people in motion, foregrounding “intensity” as a mediating concept and object of analysis for ethnographic inquiry.


Ph.D., Yale University (2016)

M.Phil., Yale University (2012)

A.B., Cornell University (2009)

Research Interests

Linguistic and sociocultural anthropology; semiotics; language, selfhood, and belonging; borders, mobilities, and infrastructures; commensuration and contrastive evaluation; Southeast Asian studies; Indonesia and Malaysia.

Selected Publications

2019. "Policing Intensity." Public Culture. Volume 31, Number 3, pp. 469-496.

2018. “Living on the Edge: Being Malay (and Bugis) in the Riau Islands.” Trends in Southeast Asia. Number 12, pp. 1-54. 

2017b. “Grading Qualities and (Un)settling Equivalences: Undocumented Migration, Commensuration, and Intrusive Phonosonics in the Indonesia-Malaysia Borderlands.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. Volume 27, Issue 2, pp. 124-150. 

2017a. “‘Their Accent Would Betray Them’: Undocumented Immigrants and the Sound of ‘Illegality’ in the Malaysian Borderlands.” SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Volume 32, Number 2, pp. 221-259.

Courses Taught

ANTH 628: Language in Culture and Society: Special Topics 

ANTH 626: Intensity 

ANTH 550: Movement, Mobility, Migration 

ANTH 255: Southeast Asia 

ANTH 202: Language, Migration, Diaspora 



Faculty Status