Busi Makoni

Busi Makoni

Associate Teaching Professor of African Studies and Applied Linguistics
112 Willard Building
Area(s) of Specialization: Critical Discourse, Language and law, Language planning, Language Policy, Language, Gender, and Sexuality, Language, Identity, and Ideology, Visual semiotics and multimodality
Busi Makoni


Ph.D., Second Language Acquisition, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Professional Bio

Busi Makoni is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work is at the intersection of Applied Linguistics, African Studies, Women’s Gender, and Sexuality studies. Her work experience is eclectic. Before joining Penn State University, she held executive management positions in different organs of state in South Africa. In these different governmental organizations, her work was focused on researching language development, literacy, and social justice. She has also taught at different universities in Southern Africa. Central to Busi Makoni’s work is unpacking and understanding the impact of the hierarchization of languages on marginalized communities. In this line of work, she explores language practices in courtroom interactions, and she foregrounds a strong feminist stance in exploring the exploitation of women in some African courtrooms because of their use of a language variety that women are socialized to use as a sign of respect. Her work also examines immigrant language practices and interactions in contexts characterized by intense xenophobia. This strand of her work investigates how immigrants in heightened states of precarity discursively construct notions of self and other and how language ideologies and other sociocultural stereotypes shape these practices. A sizable portion of her research is concerned with the complex interrelationship between identity and gendered embodiment where she explores the innovative use of body part terminology in African contexts and what gendered and racial ideologies emerge from using this terminology.

Selected articles and book chapters

Makoni, B. (2022) Black Female Scholarship Matters: Erasure of Black African Women’s Sociolinguistic Scholarship. In Bassey Antia & Sinfree Makoni (Eds.), Southernizing Sociolinguistics: Colonialism, Racism and Patriarchy in Language in the Global South. (pp131-145). Routledge.

Makoni, B. (2022). Colonial Intertexts and Black Femininities: Locating Black African Women in a Racialized Iconography of Knowledge. In Makoni, Sinfree, Kaiper -Marquez & Anna Mokwena Lorato. (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Language and the Global South/s (pp. 261-271). Routledge.

Makoni, B. (2021). 'A pair of buttocks' that everybody hates: radical rudeness as a resistance strategy. Gender & Language, 15(4). pp549-558.

Makoni, B. (2021). In weed we trust: Embodied everyday resistance. Language & Communication, 79, 118-132.

Makoni, B. (2021). Black female scholarship matters: A black female’s reflections on language and sexuality studies. Journal of language and sexuality, 10(1), 48-58.

Makoni, B. (2020). Constructing multilingua franca scales: Translingual practices of Black African immigrants in Johannesburg. Journal of Multilingual Theories and Practices, 1(2), 218-242.

Makoni, B. (2020). Metalinguistic discourses on translanguaging and multimodality: Acts of passing by black African immigrants in Johannesburg. Language, Culture and Society, 2(1), 66-91