David Divita

Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures; On leave Spring 2025
With Pomona Since: 2010
  • Expertise


    David Divita, a sociocultural linguist and linguistic anthropologist, specializes in Spanish- and French-speaking people and places. His interests include the linguistic and semiotic dimensions of aging; the experience of belonging, displacement and long-term multilingualism; and the politics of history and memory—in particular as these phenomena operate among populations with national and affective attachments to contemporary Spain and France.

    His book, Untold Stories: Legacies of Authoritarianism among Spanish Labour Migrants in Later Life, was published by the University of Toronto Press in March 2024. Untold Stories features a full-length ethnography of a community of aging Spaniards who were born around the time of Spain’s civil war (1936-1939), came of age during its repressive aftermath, and migrated to France as young adults in search of economic opportunity. Through detailed analysis of their conversational interactions, Divita shows how history lives among individuals in later life—not as a static domain of facts and figures, but in the narrative forms that animate or haunt their everyday encounters.

    Divita is currently investigating ongoing debates in Spain about the Law of Democratic Memory, which was ratified in 2022 to address the legacies of Francoism. Among other polemics, he is focusing on efforts to “resignify” the Valley of Cuelgamuros, the memorial complex from which Franco was exhumed in 2019.

    Divita has also written about political rhetoric and far-right populism in contemporary Spain; language ideologies and discursive practices that concern domestic service in the United States; and the use of English in French gay-lifestyle media. He has published articles in Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Language in Society, Journal of Sociolinguistics, International Journal of the Sociology of LanguageDiscourse & Society, and Journal of Language, Culture and Society, among others.

    Areas of Expertise


    • Spanish and French Linguistics
    • Sociolinguistics
    • Linguistic Anthropology
    • Applied Linguistics
  • Work



    Untold Stories: Legacies of Authoritarianism among Spanish Labour Migrants in Later Life. (2024). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

    Selected Articles and Book Chapters

    Back to Spain? Return Migration on Stage among Aging Migrants in France.” (2024). In D. Boehm and M.H. Rogozen-Soltar (Eds.), States of Return: Rethinking Migration and Mobility (pp. 42-63). New York: NYU Press.

    Radical-Right Populism in Spain and the Strategy of Chronopolitics.” Language in Society 52.5 (2023): 757–81.

    The Gendered Semiotics of Far-Right Populism on Instagram: A Case from Spain.” Discourse & Society 34.1 (2023): 22–53.

    “Memes from Confinement: Disorientation and Hindsight Projection in the Crisis of COVID-19.” Language, Culture and Society 4.2 (2022): 162-188.

    “Spanish Bonnes in 1960s Paris: Occupational Narratives from Transnational Migrants in Later Life.” (2021). In K. Gonçalves and H. Kelley-Holmes, H. (Eds.), Language, Global Mobilities, Blue-Collar Workers and Blue-Collar Workplaces (pp. 91-106). New York: Routledge.

    “Masculine Embodiment among Sexual Minorities in a Women’s Prison.” Australian Social Work, 74.2 (2021): 172-185. (Main author: A. Smoyer)

    “Domestic Spanish Handbooks: Language and Labor in the American Home.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 262 (2020): 17-37.

    “Recalling the Bidonvilles of Paris: Historicity and Authority Among Transnational Migrants in Later Life.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 29.1 (2019): 50-68.

    “The Life of a Loanword: A Case Study of Le Coming Out in the French Magazine Têtu (1995-2015).” Ampersand 6 (2019). (Co-author: W. Curtis.)

    “Discourses of (Be)longing: Later Life and the Politics of Nostalgia.” (2019). In R. Piazza (Ed.), Discourses of Identity in Liminal Places and Spaces (pp. 64-82). New York: Routledge.

    “Talk about the Past.” Texas Linguistic Forum 61 (2018): 1-8.

    “From Paris to Pueblo and Back: (Re-)Emigration and the Modernist Chronotope in Cultural Performance.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 24.1 (2014): 1-18.

    “Multilingualism and Later Life: A Sociolinguistic Perspective on Age and Aging.” Journal of Aging Studies 30 (2014): 94-103.

    “Language Ideologies across Time: Household Spanish Handbooks from 1959 to 2012.” Critical Discourse Studies 11.2 (2014): 194-210.

    “Multilingualism and the Lifespan: Case Studies from a Language Course for Spanish Seniors in Saint-Denis, France.” International Journal of Multilingualism 11.1 (2014): 1-22.

    “Online in Later Life: Age as a Chronological Fact and a Dynamic Social Category in an Internet Class for Retirees.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 16.5 (2012): 585-612.

  • Education


    University of California, Berkeley

    Columbia University

    Fluent Languages:

    • French
    • Spanish
    • English

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Multilingual Spain: Power, Identity, Politics
    • Language & Gender
    • Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics
    • Spanglish in Context: Bilingualism in the U.S.
    • Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
    • Telling Stories: Form and Function of Narrative in Everyday Life
    • Language and Power in the Francophone World
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Hirsch Research Initiation Grant. “Manufacturing memory: Legacies of an authoritarian past in contemporary Spain.” 2022-2023.

    Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Universidad de Murcia (Spain), Fall 2018.