Isabelle A. Zaugg's research interests revolve around language & culture, media, and digital technologies in the global public sphere. Her dissertation entitled "Digitizing Ethiopic: Coding for Linguistic Continuity in the Face of Digital Extinction" investigates the relationship between digitally-disadvantaged languages and patterns of mass extinction of language diversity. Her dissertation approaches global concerns through a case study focused on the Ethiopian and Eritrean languages that utilize the Ethiopic script. It addresses the extent to which the script and its languages are supported in the digital sphere, including tracing the history of its inclusion in Unicode. It concludes with policy, governance, and advocacy recommendations to better support digitally-disadvantaged languages, in turn supporting their long-term survival.

Zaugg earned a PhD in Communication from American University in Washington, D.C. in 2017. She earned an MA in Film & Video from American University in 2013 and a BA in Art Semiotics from Brown University in 2006. She was a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellow to Ethiopia in 2016-2017 and a Fulbright Student Fellow to Ethiopia in 2012-2013, teaching a filmmaking course to students at Addis Ababa University. She began her scholarly engagement with Ethiopia as a study-abroad student at Addis Ababa University in 2004-2005. She is currently a Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow in "Global Language Justice" at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. She’s an alumna of the United World College of the Adriatic, and was born and raised in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado.




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