The following course descriptions represent a few of the graduate seminars that have been offered in the CLASP program over the last several years. These should provide an idea of the breadth and depth of course offerings in the program. Many of these seminars are offered on an annual or semiannual basis.
Linguistic anthropology, one of the four classic subfields of anthropology, seeks to explicate culture and society ethnographically as they emerge through language and discourse. This graduate-level introduction to the field examines language as a form of action through which socio-political relations are constituted. The seminar is organized around key concepts that are of ongoing importance to contemporary linguistic anthropologists, among them practice, ideology, indexicality, and identity. Because social subjectivity is produced, challenged, and affirmed through linguistic practice, the readings required for the course view speakers and hearers as embedded within complex relations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. We will explore issues that have been central to research and discussion in linguistic anthropology, such as language, categorization, and worldview; language socialization; models of language as action; ritual and performance; language endangerment and globalization; intertextuality and dialogism; the co-construction of meaning in conversation; language, nationalism, and modernity; and literacy practices.
This course will provide a broad introduction to socio-cultural perspectives and methods in linguistics, focusing on linguistic anthropology and cross-cultural comparisons. We will read a basic introduction to the topic, as well as numerous articles which provide examples of specific applications. Students will also be expected to engage with linguistic data, including at least one independent project involving data gathered on their own. Topics to be covered include: ethnographic methods; the idea of ‘culture’ and different theories of culture from within linguistic anthropology; relationships between language and culture on the level of lexicon and grammar; the concept of ‘speech community’ and ethnography of communication; cultural models and metaphors; language and inequality; language, power and agency; language ideology and its connection to social structures; language socialization; ethnopoetics, narrative and performance; language, identity and subjectivity; language, interactionism, and the construction of social relationships; and language change from a socio-cultural perspective, including language shift, pidgins, creoles, and language endangerment. The course will provide both an introduction to older classical theories and topics, as well as to contemporary trends.
This seminar has two major objectives. The first objective is to bring together ethnographic and philosophical texts on mental health and embodiment in order to build our own rigorously theorized models of embodiment that take seriously body and mind. The second objective is to consider the political stakes of studies of embodiment and mental health, and we will examine the ways that bodily experience and mental well-being are deeply connected to social and structural inequalities.
Readings include ethnographies of mental health, canonical philosophical and anthropological approaches to embodiment, and feminist and queer theory scholarship on science and the body. Overarching themes are intersectional theories of well-being; psychiatry, colonialism, memory, and race; experience and interiority; knowledge production; bodily senses; and the brain and selfhood. (Note: Although this course is not specifically designed as a CLASP course, Prof. Goldfarb welcomes students working on the intersection of language and society.)
Critical overview of leading theoretical traditions in communication studies. Attention to metatheoretical issues including epistemological foundations, the structure of communication theory as a field, and reflexivity between communication theory and cultural practice. Recommended for graduate students in Communication and related disciplines.
This course familiarizes students with theoretical and methodological approaches in community and social interaction research. The overarching question addressed by this course is, “What are the differing ways of conceptualizing ‘community’, ‘social interaction’, and the relationship between these concepts? This course emphasizes looking closely how communication constitutes identities, relationships, and communities in institutional, interpersonal, and intercultural contexts. Students will be introduced to interpretive, critical, and applied frameworks; to theories such as dialogism, ethnomethodology, and pragmatics; and to qualitative methods (observational methods, interviews, focus groups, grounded theory coding, discourse analysis).
Discourse Analysis points to a family of approaches to inquiry and a substantive area of study. In communication, it's often referred to as language and social interaction, "LSI." The class attends to both meanings, albeit tilting toward discourse analysis as a method for the study of interaction. The seminar has two purposes, with each reflected in class activities and assignments. A first purpose is to acquaint you with three important kinds of discourse analysis: conversation analysis, critical discourse approaches, and rhetorically influenced approaches (discursive psychology, action-implicative discourse analysis). For each approach you will learn what are its assumptions and distinctive features, usual kinds of analytic moves, and the important questions for investigation. The second purpose of the seminar is to enable you to do a discourse analysis yourself: To take instances of talk or text and arrive at an interesting, persuasive scholarly analysis. To accomplish this second purpose, you will be practicing the technical and analytic skills that comprise discourse analysis (transcribing, listening for particulars, selecting excerpts, documenting inferences, linking to scholarly controversies, building insightful central claims). The first part of the class will involve assignments with a common text. Then, for the remainder of the semester, students will work with a slice of institutional or interpersonal interaction that they have selected to develop a full-blown research paper.
This is a graduate seminar in advanced qualitative research methods. It is specifically concerned with two important – and sometimes mysterious -- areas of practice in qualitative research: data analysis, and writing.Data analysis is typically concerned with the transformation of records derived from qualitative methods of data collection (e.g., participant observation, interviewing, and artifact analysis) into effective evidence for practical and scholarly arguments. Writing is concerned with the creative and disciplined processes by which qualitative researchers represent their knowledge claims in material formats intended for public circulation.
Our main goal in this course is to provide you with opportunities to learn more about these issues, and to develop your practical skills in working with a concrete project of your choosing. Throughout, we will engage in a variety of reading, writing, and discussion activities designed to increase your understanding of related concepts, and practice of related skills.
This is a graduate course in advanced qualitative communication research methods. The course is designed to benefit students already involved in empirical qualitative research projects, that is, students who already have access to a cultural scene they are interested in studying, and have been able to collect at least some communication data (recordings or transcripts of interaction, field notes / journals, documents, artefacts, etc.). The course will provide such students an opportunity to complete data collection, to analyze and interpret their data, and to practice presenting findings to particular audiences. The curriculum will include regular workshop sessions where students can present data and early formulations of their descriptions, claims, and arguments, and receive feedback from the interpretive community of course participants.
We will explore the ethnography of communication tradition as one possible resource among many for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting communication phenomena. We will review how classic and current ethnographic scholarship seek answers to two fundamental questions: How do people communicate in particular speech communities? And, what do they have to believe to communicate in those ways? We will pursue such analytic goals as identifying the components of communication events, formulating cultural norms and premises, and reconstructing the community-constituting function of interaction. We will also appraise the critical potential of the ethnography of communication, particularly regarding linguistic and social inequality.
One cultural scene where ethnographers with an interest in language use have done significant work is education. We will review three ethnographies of communication in education as case studies of the use of advanced qualitative methods:
- Ethnography, linguistics, narrative inequality: Toward an understanding of voice (Dell Hymes, 1996)
- Language in late modernity: Interaction in an urban school (Ben Rampton, 2006)
- The class: Living and learning in the digital age (Sonia Livingstone & Julian Sefton-Green, 2016)
These readings provide insight into teaching and learning as communicative activities that unfold in particular socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts and mobilize (often contested) social identities and language ideologies.
Grounded practical theory (GPT) refers to a range of concepts and methods for theorizing communicative practices. The seminar will explore GPT through assigned background readings and individual research projects. Readings will include units on GPT methodology with applications to discourse analysis of group interaction (Craig, Tracy, et al.), the concept of social practice (Schatzki et al.), sociocultural activity theory and communities of practice (Lave & Wenger), reflexive practice theory (Bourdieu), and genealogy of social practices (Foucault). For the semester project, each student will select a sample of discourse (consisting of public documents, media texts, field observations, and/or recordings of interaction) from any field of social practice of interest to the student. Writing assignments will include short papers exploring the application of unit readings to the student’s discourse sample and a major paper developing a selected analytical approach in depth.
The focus of this graduate course is the life of culture in communication, and of communication in culture. We will seek answers to these questions: How can communicative practices be seen as cultural practices? How is “culture” itself a product of communication? What happens where divergent culturally specific communicative practices come into contact? We will cultivate an interest in the cultural forms and meanings of observable language use chiefly, although not exclusively, in the tradition of the ethnography of communication. The course has two main objectives: (1) to acquaint you with classic and contemporary readings that engage the relationship between communication and culture, and (2) to introduce you to ways in which you can adopt a cultural approach toward communication phenomena. Although this is a survey and not a methods course, you will have the opportunity to use ethnographic methodologies to develop new field-based research projects or to sharpen some aspects of their existing projects. The course comprises four units. Unit 1 focuses on classic readings. Unit 2 is concerned with what it means to adopt a cultural approach to language use. Unit 3 reviews cultural approaches to topics of concern to our department’s chief areas of study: rhetoric, discourse and society, organizational communication, and critical/cultural studies. The focus of Unit 4 is intercultural communication.
Meetings are a, if not the, most routinely used communicative form that institutional groups use to accomplish their multiple purposes. Public deliberative groups, teams in workplaces, grassroots social action groups, official political organizations, support-giving institutions: All do work in meetings. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that meeting is what groups are all about. Through meetings groups solve (and create) problems, give information and misinformation, develop and rework policies, make (and remake) decisions, affirm (and dissolve) groupness, and, sometimes, change the world. Meetings are where groups celebrate (and challenge) institutionally important values; they are also routine sites in which individuals display their own power and resist the demands of others. The “having of meetings” is linked to some of society’s most valued ideals—giving voice, fairness, democracy. At the same time meetings are everyone’s favorite thing to hate, occasions to be escaped, complained about, and derogated.
The purpose of this seminar is twofold. A first goal is to develop your familiarity with a disciplinarily diverse and interesting literature about meetings, including influential case studies, a picture of how they came into existence historically, theorizing about their functions and effects, routine communicative practices that occur in them, common interactional troubles, cross-cultural differences, and some of the different expectations about “ideal” meeting conduct. A second goal is for you to carry out a field research project on some specific set of meetings, the scope of which will depend on whether you are an MA or PhD student. In the seminar we will move back and forth between discussion of readings and occasional mini-lectures, and the analysis of tapes and written documents (e.g., minutes, policy documents, virtual discussions) from the meetings that are the foci of people’s different projects.
Seminar Prerequisite: Students are expected to have some familiarity with qualitative research methods.
This course is a Ph.D.-level course offered in a seminar format. No specific background is required though both basic organization and communication theory would be helpful. The course focuses on understanding the relations among power, language, social/cultural practices, and the treatment and/or suppression of important conflicts as they relate to the production of individual identities, social knowledge, and decision-making in corporate and community organizations. Most of the attention will be at the micro-level looking at how discourse and concrete practices produce and reproduce relations of power, though larger institutional forces, ideology and society-level discursive formations will be related to these. The readings will include studies investigating the positive forces of member production and the need for control and compliance especially within knowledge-intensive and other organizations with work practices fostering new forms of normative and concertive control. Other readings will discuss the negative side of these new processes and identify systems and practices of inappropriate control and distorted decision-making including detailing the costs of these for people, organizations and host societies.
This course provides a comprehensive survey of bilingual and multicultural education programs for emergent bilingual students. It includes an overview of the history and legislation related to the education of emergent bilingual and language minoritized students, as well as the various models, theoretical and philosophical underpinnings, and practices of bilingual, English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL), and multicultural education. Aimed at practitioners, but likely of interest to all who may work with or advocate for emergent bilingual students and families in schools, programs, or policy arenas.
This course examines the theoretical background for understanding linguistic, social and cultural factors that influence the acquisition of literacy for culturally and linguistically diverse students, in particular emerging bilingual (EB) learners. Through an integrated approach to teaching literacy across the curriculum to linguistically diverse students, graduate students will examine important concepts including: balanced approaches to literacy instruction, refinement of literacy instruction to meet the needs of EB students, selection and use of multicultural literature, collaborative learning, critical thinking, the relationship of L1 and L2, writing pedagogy, and assessment strategies. Active participation and guided reflection will focus graduate students’ personal and professional growth as learners and teachers. Opportunities will be provided for graduate students to examine critically their own career-long growth in teaching and assessing language arts for culturally and linguistically diverse students.
The material in this course is complex, dense, and multifaceted. It is learned best through dispersed leadership and expertise. Through readings, discussion, lecture, & individual agency, you will learn a little about a lot of topics while becoming an expert in an area of your choice.
There is an assumed knowledge of basic literacy pedagogy.
This course examines the intricate web of variables that interact in the process of learning a new language. These variables include linguistic, cognitive, social, cultural, and political factors. Learning a new language is both an individual and social experience. It includes linguistic, cultural, cognitive, social, psychological, and emotional elements. As such, language learning involves complex interactions between individuals and the contexts in which they interact. The emphasis in the course will be on examining each of these factors in turn and then attempting to understand how they work together to foster or inhibit successful new language learning and acquisition.
This course will examine the intricate web of variables that interact in the second language leaning process. These variables include linguistic, cognitive, social, cultural, and political factors. Learning a second language is both an individual and social experience. It includes linguistic, cultural, cognitive, social, psychological, and emotional elements. As such, second language learning involves complex interactions between the individual and the contexts in which s/he interacts. The emphasis in the course will be on examining each of these factors in turn and then attempting to understand how they work together to foster or inhibit successful second language learning and acquisition.
This course explores the discipline of sociolinguistics, the study of language variation and use, and its application within education settings. Not designed as an advanced sociology or linguistics course. Areas of study include language variation, speech communities, the ethnography of communication, speech and social identities, and sociolinguistic research related to teaching and learning.
This course focuses on ways to develop, improve and maintain effective family and community engagement in education for emergent bilingual students (and special education children). Designed for the practicing teacher and others who work with (or plan to work with) bilingual and language-minoritized children and youth, the class will explore barriers, strategies, and models related to family/community engagement in educational systems. Course will challenge students to understand, prepare for, and even instigate community-driven systemic educational reform.
The goal of this seminar is to explore how learning science research might be informed by the closely related frameworks of mediated action (MA; e.g., Wertsch, 1991, 1998) and mediated discourse analysis (MDA: e.g., Scollon, 2001; Scollon & Scollon, 2004). Both perspectives focus on processes of becoming through engagement in practice, and how these processes of becoming are realized through communication and participation in value-laden settings of action.
MA theory explores how mind is realized in and through action, and how this process is mediated by semiotic and material ``cultural tools.'' This approach takes action, as opposed to either individuals or sociocultural environments, as the fundamental unit of analysis for studying learning and psychological development in general. MDA builds directly on the MA framework, adding specific emphases on, first, the role of discourse as a form of action through which mind, identity, positionality, and social collectives are realized; and, second, an ethnographic understanding of the “sites of engagement” in which action takes place, including the range of semiotic and material tools that intersect in action.
Both frameworks seek to adopt a focus not exclusively on individual actors, nor on social groups or institutions, nor on mediational means, but rather on the “nexus of practice” at which these intersect and are brought concretely into engagement. This focus keeps alive the complexity of meanings and practices that bind communities together and make up individuals’ identities over time. Both approaches aim at deepening our understanding of how sociocultural processes shape and mold people’s lives and identities, and both are interested in better understanding how discourses, practices and mediations sometimes constitute opportunities for actions, but sometimes also contribute to limiting action and imagination.
This course will introduce students to discourse analysis as a research methodology and analytic framework for the examination of language-in-use, and in particular in relation to questions of identity and learning. We will consider work from a variety of perspectives, including interactional sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, conversation analysis, and critical discourse analysis. The course is intended both to provide you with opportunities to discuss central theoretical issues in discourse analysis and also to provide opportunities to work with interactional data in order to develop your analytic skills and to receive critical feedback on your work. Thus, in addition to theoretical discussions, the course will provide opportunities for hands-on work involving transcription and analysis of discourse from these various perspectives.
In a global economy and in a multicultural, multilingual society like ours, educational researchers increasingly need to address language issues even if their research area is not language. Communicating with users of multiple languages, making sampling decisions concerning linguistically diverse populations, and using and interpreting information from research involving multiple linguistic are among the challenges current educational researchers need to face.
The goal of this course is twofold: (1) to provide doctoral students with basic knowledge that enables them to effectively reason about language and linguistic groups in ways that allow them to make sound decisions concerning design and methods in their own research; and (2) to support students to become critical users of literature, methods, normative documents, and services concerning language that they may be offered in the future for their research.
This course provides the conceptual basis for addressing linguistic diversity from a multidisciplinary perspective. This is not a course for learning a foreign language, a course on teaching a second language, or a course focusing exclusively on English language learners. Rather, this course examines ways in which issues of language can affect the validity of educational research even if the focus of an investigation is not language or if the participants do not belong to a linguistic minority group. The course also examines how language can be properly addressed with a multidisciplinary perspective through different stages in the process of an investigation, including design, sampling, data collection, and data analysis.
This advanced doctoral seminar introduces doctoral students to key theories and empirical research on bilingual and biliterate development in school age children (preK-12). Participants will explore sociolinguistic, sociocultural, and psycholinguistic perspectives of the language and literacy development of children growing up with two or more languages, and critically examine how varying educational contexts and policies impact the schooling experiences of bilingual learners from early childhood to late adolescence.
This course will examine in detail the richness of the body as a set of semiotic practices in moment-by-moment interaction. Students will record and transcribe video data and write a paper about some embodied practice. The assigned readings will include discussions of gesture, body torque, etc.
This seminar serves as a graduate-level introduction to the study of language in its social context. Designed as a complement to the graduate-level introductory course in linguistic anthropology, the course will cover insights traditionally attributed to the field of sociolinguistics, broadly defined. Readings and discussion will draw from perspectives voiced in a variety of research traditions associated with the field, among them variationist sociolinguistics, the ethnography of speaking, the sociology of language, and socially oriented discourse analysis (e.g., interactional sociolinguistics, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis). Classic publications in the field by scholars such as John Gumperz, William Labov, and Dell Hymes will be discussed alongside newer works. The course will focus on innovative directions in the field that have arisen over the last decade: for example, we will interrogate new sociolinguistic conceptualizations of interactive phenomena such as stance, indexicality, style, identity, and enregisterment, as well as examine recent arguments that call for a deeper consideration of the mobility of language in the context of globalization. The seminar has several goals: (1) to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the historical development of theory and practice in the field of sociolinguistics; (2) to equip students with the analytic tools necessary to understand and evaluate contemporary research in sociolinguistics; (3) to interrogate the divide between micro- and macro- analyses of language through a consideration of various forms of social theory; and finally, (4) to bring students to a critical awareness of the place of language in the constitution of social, cultural, and political relations. As sociolinguistics is conceptualized in this seminar as a broadly interdisciplinary field, students from diverse disciplines are invited to join.
This course is designed as an introduction to many different issues in indigenous languages, primarily in the socio-cultural realm. The focus will be on languages world-wide, though my own primary expertise is in Native America and Polynesia. The goal of the course is to think about possible futures for the concept of “indigeneity” and the potential or necessary links between this concept and the fate of indigenous languages in the context of rapid globalization. Key questions are: the validity and usefulness of a concept of “indigeneity” and “indigenous” languages; the political and legal implications involved in such claims, especially in relation to neo-liberalism and western-style democracies; the linguistic and anthropological claims involved (does “indigenous” function in opposition to “global”? is there something particular, in terms of language structure, vocabulary, ideology or usage, about indigenous languages? are there typical features of “indigenous” cultures that would provide analytic usefulness for linguistic anthropologists, educators, and others?); does the notion of “indigenous” languages imply certain judgments about connections between language, culture, thought and place, and if so, what are the nature of these connections?; what are the causes of language shift and endangerment, and what if anything can or should be done to resist these developments?
This seminar will examine the ways in which identities are constructed, negotiated, and affirmed through oral narrative, particularly life stories, personal narratives, and institutional narratives. We will survey different approaches to the analysis of oral narrative, as developed in ethnography of speaking, interactive sociolinguistics, conversation analysis, and linguistic and cultural anthropology. Students will develop technical skills in the transcription and analysis of spoken narrative and will incorporate these skills into a final essay on language and identity in a particular community, forum, or narrative genre. There are no prerequisites for the course, although some understanding of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, or anthropological theory is desirable.
This seminar explores the role of language in the social construction and articulation of sexuality, broadly conceived to include sexual identity, desire, erotics, and reproduction. We will attempt wherever possible to draw links between social theory and sociolinguistic analysis, as we review a variety of theoretical perspectives in the humanities and social sciences and explore their implications for the linguistic study of sexuality. These perspectives arise out of discussions of sexuality in early and contemporary cultural anthropology, sexology, feminist theory, gay and lesbian studies, poststructuralism and queer theory, psychoanalysis, and globalization theory. Texts in critical gender/sexuality theory will be read alongside linguistic texts on sexuality written from varied methodological standpoints.
This seminar will explore the view that “grammar does best what speakers do most” (a quote from Du Bois); that is, that syntax is shaped by communicative/interactional functions. We will trace the development of this idea in a subfield known as Discourse-Functional Syntax, including work in a new sister subfield known as Interactional Linguistics (which brings together insights, concepts and methods from Conversation Analysis and the perspectives of Discourse-Functional Syntax).
This seminar will begin with a short introduction to Conversation Analysis, and then cover grammatical issues (including phonetics) of turn-taking, repair, initiating and responsive actions, reference, etc. The course will include material from a range of languages, including (but not limited to) English, Japanese, German, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Korean, Murrinh-Patha and Mandarin.
This seminar is designed to bring together sociolinguistic and linguistic anthropological work on globalization with recent work on the same subject from the fields of cultural anthropology and cultural studies. Specifically, the readings assigned for the course will examine varied contemporary border-crossing phenomena that have quite serious implications for language use and theorization, among them globalization, diaspora, neoliberalism, migration, outsourcing, asylum, consumption, NGOification, tourism, and the commodification of identity. We will read central theoretical anthropological texts regarding each of the areas listed above, followed by linguistic work that seeks to expose these processes in grounded, or at least particularized, contexts. The course will primarily be a readings course, with the additional requirement of occasional response papers and a final paper on a topic that builds on the course readings. There are no formal prerequisites for the course, except a willingness to read deeply and discuss course concepts with insight and enthusiasm. (Students with little or no training in the broad study of language and society should consult with the instructor about the appropriateness of the seminar.)
This course is designed to interrogate the relationship between language and new media, focusing in particular on how interactive communication technologies (digital, satellite, or cellular) are changing the contours of social interaction. As scholars of varied forms of socially oriented discourse analysis have begun to argue, the pervasiveness of these technologies in everyday life compels us to rethink some of our most basic assumptions regarding social interaction, whether we are analyzing everyday conversation, narrative, political speech, sociolinguistic style or variation, language and the nation-state, or human sociality more generally. Whereas linguistic anthropologists and sociolinguists are now examining the place of digital interactivity in processes of language and globalization (as carried through satellite television, video sharing sites such as YouTube, email, and MMS or SMS text messaging), analysts of conversation are considering how digital mobility provides important challenges to the deictic and organizational norms of face-to-face conversation. At the same time, narrative analysts are considering how advanced forms of digital editing are changing how we authenticate, distribute, and valorize newsworthy events. This course seeks to synthesize this material, while also considering ethnographic research on varied forms of social media, among them Twitter, Facebook, virtual worlds such as Second Life, online dating services, interactive video games, and personal blogging. We will be particularly interested in how new communication technologies intrude into face-to-face conversation, producing what some scholars have called “augmented environments” and others “interactivity.” Finally, we will reflect on our own position as researchers who rely on digital media for analysis, considering the theoretical and even ethical implications of our use of audio- and video-recordings as evidential data.
This course will look at the special case of language in performance – that is to say, special, marked genres of language use. These will include narrative, musical texts, joking, speeches, prayers, and didactic performances, oral poetry, discourses of salesmanship, and potentially other genres such as sermons and so forth. We will consider how these are all a special kind of “performance” and analyze definitions of performances of this sort in relation to broader theories of linguistic performativity. Among the questions we will consider are exactly how different these linguistic practices and behaviors are from less marked types of linguistic behavior and to what extent the term “performance” as elaborated by Bauman, Briggs, Hymes, Tedlock, Turner, Sherzer, and others is analytically useful; how such performances are marked in space and time through language; the ways in which such performances are involved in broader socio-linguistic phenomena such as language socialization, identity formation, and the development of cognitive models; and the ways in which phenomena such as literacy or uses of other specific language technologies, or code-switching, use of pidgins and jargons, and the like, can also be considered as performances in the context of certain societies.
The course will be primarily anthropological in approach: we will look at a number of cultures and languages from around the globe, with some attention to the contemporary US as well.
This seminar reviews a diverse range of scholarship in sociocultural linguistics to examine how time and space are produced through discourse. Taking the linguistic literature on deixis as our starting point (deictics are expressions such as ‘then’, ‘now’, ‘that’, ‘this’, ‘there’, and ‘here’ whose interpretation depends strictly on the context in which they are uttered), we will move on to a broader consideration of the ways in which discursive practice—whether personal narrative, nationalist rhetoric, stand-up comedy routines, everyday conversation, place names, sexualized humor, online communication, multilingual billboards, graffiti, gestural emblems, or a localized language variety like Pittsburghese—is critically reliant on spatiotemporal considerations for its form, use, and interpretation. The readings assigned for this course consider time and space not as static phenomena that precede and determine discourse, but rather as sociocultural constructs that are ever-shifting and actively constituted by speakers. The course thus moves away from fixed notions of time and space to focus on the ideological processes of spatialization and temporalization, terms that highlight the production of these concepts within the social world. For instance, an important undercurrent of the course will consider how ideologies of time and space are invoked in the discursive production of identity (as when, to name a common example, urban-identified cosmopolitans assert themselves as "progressive" against an imagined rural backdrop of ‘backwardness’). The course will review contemporary scholarship on time and space from within sociocultural linguistics (as forged in literature on linguistic landscapes, narrative, sociolinguistic variation, linguistic anthropology, discourse, and globalization), as well as introduce relevant theoretical work from fields beyond linguistics.
Although scholarship in discourse analysis has traditionally conceptualized interaction as taking place in a single language, a growing body of research in language and globalization has begun to view multilingual interaction as a norm instead of an exception. Linguistic scholarship acknowledging the diversity of sociality in this current era of accelerated globalization has focused on linguistic hybridity instead of uniformity, linguistic movement instead of stasis, and linguistic borders instead of interiors. This seminar seeks to address how we have arrived at this formulation through a sociohistorical account of theoretical perspectives on discursive practices associated with code switching. We use the term broadly in this course to encompass the many kinds of bidialectal, bilingual, and multilingual alternations that have often been subsumed under or discussed in tandem with code switching, among them borrowing, code-mixing, interference, diglossia, style shifting, crossing, mock language, bivalency, and hybridity. Graduate students from all disciplines are invited to participate in the seminar, although some experience with, or potential access to, code switching or style shifting language data is encouraged. The course will primarily teach perspectives developed within the related fields of linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics, with some attention to research conducted within conversation analysis. There are no prerequisites for this course, other than graduate student standing and a willingness to read and think deeply.
This seminar is designed to assist graduate students in the collection, interpretation, and analysis of sociolinguistic data, with special emphasis on ethnographic methods. The term sociolinguistics is here broadly defined to include diverse approaches to the study of language, culture, and society, ranging from linguistic anthropology to varied forms of socially oriented discourse analysis. Participants will decide on a socially meaningful topic to pursue during the first two weeks of the semester, after which they will collect, transcribe, and analyze supporting linguistic data, such as ethnographic interviews, audio-visual recordings of face-to-face or on-line interaction, political speeches, or other kinds of performance data. Each student will develop an annotated bibliography of theoretical and ethnographic scholarship tailored to the topic at hand, and will incorporate this bibliography into the final paper. The ultimate goal of the seminar, to be facilitated by instructor feedback, peer review, and selected readings on sociolinguistic and ethnographic methodology, is for students to develop an article suitable for publication in a leading journal. This seminar is designed for M.A. or Ph.D. students in any discipline who have had previous coursework in the areas of sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, conversation analysis, or socially oriented discourse analysis. Enrollment will be limited to 12 participants, so students interested in taking the seminar should contact the instructor before enrolling.
This graduate seminar draws from perspectives across the diverse subfields of sociocultural linguistics to understand profanity as a discursive practice that is complexly embedded in culture and society. The definition of profanity pursued in this course includes any use of language that is ideologically positioned as offensive to taste, sensibilities, and/or classes of persons, such as curse words, sexual registers, youth slang, verbal taboo, vulgar language, pornography, hate speech, derogatory gestures, or expletives. A central goal of the seminar is to bring together social theoretical work regarding the interdependency of censorship and profanity with the situated empirical study of profanity (and its avoidance) in specific social contexts. To this end, the seminar will introduce students to current developments in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and varied forms of discourse analysis. The seminar will also address the claim that globalization is changing the contours of profane practice, particularly within the globalized middle classes, as we consider how evolving forms of media and language contact may be facilitating shifts in social meaning. Texts in poststructuralist, feminist, and anthropological theory will be read alongside empirical and ethnographic studies on social and interactional uses of profanity in order to gain a holistic understanding of how taboo forms come into being and gain their power from constraints placed on expression. Although enrollment is limited, this seminar is open to MA and PhD students in all disciplines. Previous work in an area of sociocultural linguistics is desired but not required. Students intending to enroll in the seminar should register their interest by emailing Kira Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org. The seminar will involve deep reading and discussion, weekly data sessions, and a culminating analysis of a genre, discourse, gesture, event, context, or interaction that is informed by censorship or profanity.
Recent decades have played host to an enormous surge in research on bilingualism. This spike in interest has generated many (sometimes competing) perspectives on bilingual issues from a range of academic traditions and sub-disciplines, including not only Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, but also Anthropology, Sociology, and Communication Studies (amongst others). The result is a body of literature that is not only robust in terms of its findings, but also diverse in terms of its methodologies and theoretical frameworks. This graduate-level seminar on ‘Bilingualism in Context’ will actively engage with this body of research by approaching both ‘bilingualism’ and ‘context’ from a variety of perspectives, with a significant focus on code-switching phenomena. At the more ‘micro’ end of the spectrum, we will look at bilingualism in terms of language production and comprehension, drawing on studies from cognitive/psycholinguistics, experimental phonetics, and conversation analysis. At the more ‘macro’ end of the spectrum, we will tackle topics such as bilingual education, official/institutionalized mono-/bi-/multilingualism, and the ideologies surrounding these issues, drawing on research from sociolinguistics, sociology, and linguistic anthropology. Significant time will also be dedicated to bridging the micro-macro gap, with an aim toward developing an understanding of bilingualism that is layered and contextualized. The objectives of this course, then, are two-fold. First, most obviously, the goal is to provide a concrete, substantive understanding of various aspects of bilingualism, from a range of perspectives and contexts. The second, more overarching goal, though, is concerned with theoretical frameworks and methodologies, and their implications for research on linguistic phenomena in general. The course should thus equip students with an array of tools, and an eye toward interdisciplinarity, which can also be used to tackle non-bilingualism-specific pursuits in future coursework and research.
This course will be a general survey of several key topics in the study of Native American languages, which for the purpose of this class will be the indigenous languages spoken in the US and Canada (we’ll include Hawaiian in that). As a semi-formalized independent study, the burden for much of the class presentation and discussion will fall on the students: the instructor will bring expertise and guidance, but he will not prepare extensive lectures, though he will certainly be willing to provide some formal contextualization and introduction to the topics in question. We will plan to meet once a week for 2-2 1/2 hours. The course will cover three main areas: 1) language structures; 2) ethnography of communication in Native America; 3) language maintenance, loss, endangerment and extinction and responses to it. We will spend around 5 weeks on each of the three areas.
This research-focused seminar will center around a newly created, online corpus of interactional data, called the Corpus of Language Discrimination in Interaction (CLDI). The CLDI includes naturally-occurring footage of individuals being harassed in some way for the language they are speaking (e.g., folks speaking Spanish together while at a store or restaurant in the U.S.). Such interactions constitute concrete instances of a particular genre of ‘language policing’ in public social life, which students in this course will explore by conceiving and conducting their own semester-length research projects using the data in the CLDI. We will meet in-person on Tuesdays, and via Zoom (synchronously) on Thursdays.
This is a graduate theory course that engages with questions surrounding the complex relations of culture, society and media. We will focus on four theorists— Raymond Williams (1921-1988); Michel Foucault (1926-1984), Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002), and Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)— in terms of how they have formulated the relationship of the individual to society—a central issue in the study of communication, media and culture. These four thinkers were selected because examining their work allows us to explore the historical trajectory of modern western intellectual thought and philosophy, from Kant to Hegel to Marx to Nietzche, from Marxism to structuralism and post-structuralism, from posthumanism to new materialism.
Social Psychology is an interdiscipline situated between psychology, which examines inner lives and selves, and sociology, which examines the relationships between collectivities and organizations. Social psychologists examine how the self and the social interpenetrate, as well as how individuals influence one another. In other words, social psychology looks at the micro-macro link, also known as the relationship between structure and agency. By setting out as its terrain the intersection of two disciplines, social psychology has the benefits of borrowing from both intellectual histories. Yet, because of the organizational structure of American universities, social psychologists tend to be in either psychology departments or sociology departments (although more often in the former). Thus, there is psychological social psychology, and sociological social psychology. This course deliberately adopts an inclusive view that recognizes the contributions of both traditions, but emphasizes the sociological view. Within sociological social psychology, there are two predominant approaches, loosely categorized as experimental and symbolic interactionist. This course will examine both approaches, but will place more emphasis on the latter.
By the end of the semester, you will have acquired the necessary skills to work with and make sense of qualitative data and produce a potentially publishable paper. You will also have tried your hand at using qualitative data analysis software. You will understand how the conceptual work involved in the data section of a paper differs from the theorizing involved in the conclusion. You will understand how qualitative researchers construct their written texts, resulting in different genres within the literature. Moreover, you will begin to see how one of these genres might well become a “home” for your research. In addition, you will have established work habits that, if maintained, can ensure the productivity characteristic of a rewarding career. To succeed in this course, you must have data to analyze (although your data collection can still be in progress) and at least a basic familiarity with the literature relevant to your topic. You will work on your analysis and writing in segments and, by the end of the semester, you will produce a draft of a paper based on your research. Ideally, this will become your third-year paper and a publication or submission for a conference or competition. [Note: the seminar includes a focus on narrative analysis techniques]
This course provides a general introduction to usage-based theory and methods and explores the different insights gained through the application of such theory and methods to situations of language contact. Linguistic phenomena attributed to contact and studied in contact linguistics (e.g.; borrowing, convergence, code-switching) will be considered, and traditional explanations regarding causes and/or motivations for such changes will be questioned. The nature of the bilingual lexicon will be explored and the degree to which lexical representations can be implicated in processes of variation and change will be considered. Particular emphasis will be given empirical analyses of Spanish in contact with other languages.
This is a graduate-level introduction to the study of how language shapes and is shaped by society. The course will cover various approaches to sociolinguistic research with particular attention paid to quantitative methods employed within variationist approaches to language. Most examples for topics covered in class will be drawn, when possible, from studies conducted on varieties of Spanish world-wide.
Seminar Prerequisite: Advanced comprehension of spoken & written Spanish is required.
This course serves as an introduction to usage-based approaches to phonology. We will contrast functionalist and cognitive perspectives with more formal descriptions of phonological rules and representation. We will examine what phonological phenomena can tell us about the nature and size of lexical units. An emphasis will be placed on exploring phonetic, experimental, and diachronic studies in order to understand the nature of phonological representation in memory. Whenever possible, data and examples will be taken from Spanish. (Note: Prof. Brown has said that although this course tends to focus on linguistic constraints more than the extralinguistic ones, students are welcome to incorporate social factors into their semester projects.)
Identities and Language Learning
How do one’s identities shape the learning and use of an additional or heritage language? In turn, how does the act of language learning influence one’s present and future identities? What social contextual factors play a role in this dynamic relationship? This graduate seminar explores these questions, focusing on Spanish as an additional or heritage language. First, we will discuss key theoretical frameworks regarding the construction of the notion of “identity” in second language acquisition (SLA) and applied linguistic research. Second, complementary concepts that interact with identity will be examined, including investment, ideologies, intersectionality, and linguistic agency. Third, we will look at methods for conducting identity research--case studies, qualitative interviews, ethnography--and how they may intersect with other areas of SLA research, such as sociopragmatic development and acquisition of sociolinguistic variation.