English 5970

English 5970: Language, Gender, and Culture
Summer 1 2012: TR 6:30-9 pm in 4025 Brown

Course description:

Language, Gender, and Culture explores internal (linguistic) mechanisms in relation to external (social) structures, the result of which interaction is our language, a complex human tool constructed as much by our most deeply held beliefs and attitudes as to meet our communicative needs.

In English 5970, we will consider the social and academic contexts that gave rise to ‘language and gender’ as an area of inquiry and analyze its theoretical and methodological developments from early research to the present. We will also consider the influences of culture, power, and ideology on language and on the complex ways that speakers deploy the linguistic options available to them in the construction and performance of identity. Additionally, control of and authority over language in its public and private uses will be explored, along with the tradition of linguistic rebellion in response to prevailing attitudes and ideologies about gender, sexuality, and culture, as well as about language itself.

In addition to learning about theories and practices of research into language, culture, gender, and sexuality, students will also learn general linguistic terms, concepts, theories, and methods. No previous coursework in linguistics is required (although it is welcome), but curiosity and interest are essential.

Students will read intensively and voluminously and write frequently. Preparation for and participation in class discussions are critical components of the course and are therefore non-negotiable requirements.

Students enrolled in English 5970 can click here to access our class blog and other web resources. Please note that access to the class blog is limited to students enrolled in the courses. Others are invited to visit my public English 5970 pages.

Image: Portia Wounding Her Thigh (1664), by Elisabetta Sirani (1638-65).

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