006 - Reading & Composition: Social Life of Words

Social Life of Words
Course Number: 
R5B
Semester: 
Summer
Year: 
2017
Section: 
006
Location: 
Latimer 122
Instructor: 
Wells, H
Units: 
4
Time: 
MTuWTh 12-2
CCN: 
15096

Session A

 

This course explores understandings of language as a social fact, inviting students to examine the complexity and variety of ways in which human sociality and experience of the world is mediated through language. Course readings and discussions will destabilize commonplace notions of language as a stable system of grammar rules separate from sociohistorical contexts and power relations; rather, we will develop a nuanced view of language in practice. Through readings and discussions on topics of critical debate such as language acquisition, race and racialization, sign language, rap, free speech, violence, and indigenous rights, students will start to build a vocabulary with which to analyze academic arguments relating to language, and formulate their own arguments both verbally and in written form. While grounded in linguistic and sociocultural anthropology, this course also includes perspectives from sociolinguistics, media studies, religious studies, and critical race and gender theory.