Nicholas Harkness is Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. He specializes in the ethnographic study of communication and cultural semiosis. His research in South Korea has resulted in publications on various topics, including voice, language, music, religion, kinship, liquor, and the city of Seoul. His first book, Songs of Seoul: An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea (University of California Press, 2014), was awarded the Edward Sapir Book Prize by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology (Co-Winner, 2014, American Anthropological Association). A number of his papers have been devoted to developing an anthropological approach to “qualia.” These papers incorporate the innovations of contemporary semiotics into the ethnographic theorization of sensuous social life. Harkness's second book is titled Glossolalia and the Problem of Language (University of Chicago, 2020).
Harkness holds a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where his dissertation was awarded the Richard Saller Prize for the most distinguished dissertation in the Division of the Social Sciences. He was raised in Kansas, Illinois, and Idaho.