University of California Hastings College of the Law will Change Name, Drop “Hastings”

Stained Glass showcasing the “Battle of Hastings” at UC College of the Law (Public Domain)

University of California Hastings College of Law will be known as the “UC College of the Law, San Francisco” until a new name is chosen, potentially by January 2023. The Board of Directors voted for the change after it was revealed that Serranus Clinton Hastings was involved in the mass killings of the indigenous populations in Mendocino County in the 1850’s. The local tribal council has supported efforts to rename the law school.

Read more over at KRON 4 news.

Tuck Woodstock’s Advice for Changing your Name in America

Photo by Coastal Elite, Halifax, NS (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

In a recent installment of Life Kit on NPR, Tuck Woodstock explores the process of changing one’s name—a process that they have undertaken numerous times over their life. While the process can be arduous for trans people as they adjust to a new public identity, the article and accompanying audio recording outlines important considerations and the steps involved in changing a name. One tip: test drive your potential name at a coffee shop.

Read and listen over at NPR.

Symposium: “People’s Names: Identities and Inequalities” at Nottingham Trent University, 14 September 2022 (Online)

“Hello my name is…” badge (Public Domain)

From Dr. Laura Coffey-Glover:


People’s Names: Identities and Inequalities

On behalf of the People’s Names Research Network, Associate Professor of Sociology Dr Jane Pilcher of Nottingham Trent University is pleased to present this free online globally available symposium on names, identities and inequalities.

From: Wednesday 14th September 2022, 1.30 pm (GMT)

To: Wednesday 14th September 2022, 5pm (GMT).

Where: online, with booking via Eventbrite


Event details

Personal names are core components of identities – and therefore are also inherently linked to issues of equality and social justice. This free online symposium features a range of international social scientists at different stages of their careers. Their work showcases the opportunities the study of names presents for our understanding of people’s identities and experiences, and how the social science of personal names can help promote social and democratic inclusion and transformation at global, national and local levels.  Contact: Dr. Jane Pilcher, Associate Professor of Sociology (


Keynote speaker – Dr Karen Pennesi, Western University, Canada: (Don’t) Say Their Names: Indexing Social Injustice through (Re-)Naming


Karen Pennesi is Associate Professor of Linguistic and Sociocultural Anthropology. Karen’s research explores how language plays an integral part in the processes of constructing individual and group identities. Her current focus is on personal names, and their importance in relation to immigration, social integration and belonging. Karen is particularly interested in the experiences of people whose names do not fit into the legal, institutional and conventional frameworks for the structure, spelling and pronunciation of names in Canada. Her research aims to promote understanding and respect for everyone in linguistically and culturally diverse societies.”

Booking information



13.30 – 13.35 Welcome Jane Pilcher, Nottingham Trent University, UK The People’s Names Research Network
13.35 – 13.55 Paper 1 Emilia Aldrin, Halmstad University, Sweden



Naming Diversity: Textbook name choice as a mirror of evolving cultural & gender constructions in Sweden from the 1920’s to the 2010’s
13.55 – 14.15 Paper 2 Julia Sinclair-Palm & Westley Partington, Carleton University, Canada Finding Joy in a Name: Trans youths’ experiences of names & naming practices


14.15 – 14.35 Paper 3 Hannah Deakin-Smith*, Jane Bryan^ & Jane Pilcher* (*Nottingham Trent University & ^Warwick University, UK The (Mis)Pronunciation of Names: experiences of university students in England & Wales
14.35 – 14.45 10 min Q & A Chaired by TBA
14.45 – 14.50 5 mins break 5 mins break 5 mins break
14.50 – 15.10 Paper 4 Francesco Cerchiaro, University of Leuven, Belgium “What About a Muslim Name?”: religion, ethnicity & family kinship in naming practices among mixed couples with a Muslim partner (in Italy, France and Belgium).
15.10 – 15.30 Paper 5 Federica Guccini, Western University, Canada Conceptualizing a Decolonial Framework for Language & Naming Practices: A translanguaging approach to names


15.30 – 15.50 Paper 6 Ayokunmi Ojebode, University of Nottingham, UK


Connecting Worlds, Performing Identities: Peeking Through Lens of British-Nigerian Actors’ Names in Hollywood


15.50 – 16.00 10 min Q & A Chaired by TBA
16.00 – 16.10 10 mins break 10 mins break 10 mins break
16.10 – 16.45 Keynote address Karen Pennesi, Western University, Canada (Don’t) Say Their Names: Indexing social injustice through (re-)naming


16.45 – 16.55 10 min Q & A Chaired by Jane Pilcher
16.55 – 17.00 Closing remarks Jane Pilcher


Read more about this symposium over at Eventbrite.

About Names: “Cleveland Evans: Kyle raced up the charts of boy names”

A football card dated to 1952 featuring Kyle Rote (Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his July 31st column, he looks at the name Kyle.

Kyle’s racing into his fourth decade.

Kyle Larson, 2021’s NASCAR Cup Series champion, won the ESPY for Best Driver on July 20. He turns 30 today.

Kyle is a Scottish surname that can come from places named from Gaelic “caol” (narrows, strait.) It’s also from the district of Kyle (Gaelic “Cuil”) on Scotland’s southwest coast, possibly named for legendary British king Coel Hen, where Coel means “belief, trust.”

Kyle was a prominent surname among Scots who settled Northern Ireland during the 1600s. In the 1700s, Kyle families were among Scots-Irish immigrants to America. In 1850, 2,200 Americans had the surname Kyle. In Scotland and England together there were only 950 in 1851.

When the custom of turning surnames into given names began, Kyle was among them. An early example is “Kyle Stuart” (1834), a long poem by Robert Mack. There Kyle buries his father on a Virginia mountaintop and later sails to Scotland to claim his inheritance. Though published in Tennessee, “Kyle Stuart” condemns slavery, and claims studying law develops morality while practicing law ruins it.

J. Lo is now J. Aff. Here’s Why it Matters.

J. Lo (Photo by dvsross, CC-BY-2.0)

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, author Jennifer Weiner discusses the significance of marriage-related surname changes in America. Actress Jennifer Lopez’s decision to become “Jennifer Affleck” represents the majority attitude of American women toward marriage-related surname changes, Weiner writes, but it also coveys a longer tradition of historical power imbalance between men and women. Weiner argues that “Names confer identity. And married women continue to give theirs up, while married men rarely reciprocate. No matter what else changes, that power imbalance endures.”

Read more in The New York Times.

Call for Papers: ANS 2023, Online, 20-22 January 2023

The American Name Society is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. After deliberation of an official proposal made on the 27th of May 2022, the Executive Council of the American Name Society unanimously voted to hold the 2023 Annual Conference online. All presentation sessions will be held online during the three days of the conference. This means that our conference will NOT be held in conjunction with the LSA meeting, which is still slated to be held in person, January 2023 in Denver, CO.

Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The DEADLINE for receipt of abstracts is July 31, 2022. To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2023 Author Information Sheet (AIS) found here:

Please email this completed form to ANS Vice President Luisa Caiazzo using the following address: <>. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2023” in the subject line of your email.

All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before September 30, 2023. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS. Please feel free to contact ANS Vice President, Luisa Caiazzo, <>, should you have any questions or concerns.

Registration for the conference will open in September 2022.

A downloadable PDF of the Call for Papers can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

“Alethia Tanner Day” and the Namesake it Honors

Alethia Browning Tanner, 1781-1864 (Public Domain)

On July 6, 1810, Alethia Tanner bought her freedom for $275. An article in The Washington Post tells the rest of her compelling story. On July 23, 2022 Alethia Tanner Day was celebrated in Washington D.C. at a park that bears her name in the NoMa neighborhood. After Tanner purchased her own freedom and while she was working for President Thomas Jefferson, she set up a vegetable stand near the White House. This allowed her to free dozens of her family members. Read more about Alethia Tanner’s story over at The Washington Post.

Vermont’s “Suicide Six” Ski Resort to be Renamed “Saskadena Six”

An aerial view of the former “Suicide Six” Ski Resort (Photo by Jared C. Benedict, CC-BY-4.0)

According to a report over at CNN, the Vermont Ski Resort once known as “Suicide Six” will rename itself “Saskadena Six”. The name change is prompted by the perceived insensitive nature of the term suicide and “increasing awareness” surrounding mental health

After consulting indigenous populations, the company chose the term “Saskadena” as the new name for the ski resort. Saskadena is an Abenaki term that means “standing mountain”. Read more over at CNN.

Product Placement and Brand Names on Television

A bowl of milk and cereal comprised of pulverized oats in the shape of a solid torus (Public Domain)

A recent article in the New York Times explores alternatives to traditional commercials on television: product placement. As more and more consumers skip or ignore traditional advertising, corporations are placing their products in television and movies. Though not a new practice (the first product placement—”Sunlight” soap—can be found in the 1896 film “Laveuses”), product visibility allows manufacturers to reach consumers while minimizing production costs. Mike Proulx, an advertising consultant, says that brand names should appear “in a way that doesn’t feel like an advertisement.” Read more over at the New York Times.