Faculty Profile

headshot of Kristina Nielsen

Kristina Nielsen


Linguistics Program


Kristina Nielsen is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist who studies accent evaluation in Indian call centers to empirically observe how underspecified, “neutral” categories of language use play a role in the social construction of global spaces, people, and behavior. Her work investigates how different types of South Asian and other Asian identities are systematically categorized as more or less “globally intelligible” as a means of socially constructing a “global”, “neutral” English imaginary. She is interested in issues of ethno-linguistic and racial discrimination in workplace settings. Nielsen has written about working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic in Indian call centers, and the politics of mother tongue identities in call center accent training.


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • BA, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Research Interests

  • Linguistic anthropology
  • India
  • Business Anthropology
  • Accent
  • Business Process Outsourcing/Call Centers
  • Enregisterment
  • Neutrality
  • Globalism
  • Semiotics