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CCOG for ATH 104 archive revision 201802

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Effective Term:
Spring 2018 through Summer 2020
Course Number:
ATH 104
Course Title:
Language and Culture
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces basic concepts, approaches, and perspectives of linguistic anthropology. Explores how language defines the relationship of the individual to society and the role language plays in constituting power, hierarchy, ethnicity, gender, ideology, and other aspects of social identity. Explores how language can also affect the ways that speakers conceptualize actions and organize the world. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course examines how speakers use language to display identity and define cultural context. It describes and compares the role of language and culture in American society with other cultures.  Topics examined in the class include:  language and world view, language and colonialism, language and storytelling, language and gender roles, narratives of power and language and technology.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic theories and mobilize the methods of linguistic anthropology.
  • Acknowledge the differences and similarities between Standard American English and other equally effective modes of vernacular communication.
  • Perceive the theoretical implications and disguised colonial narratives that often hide behind the political imperatives to save 'dying' indigenous languages.
  • Demonstrate skills and technical knowledge in transcription.

Aspirational Goals

  • To describe the relationship between language and culture in American culture and compare it with other cultures
  • To examine the relationship between language and structures of ethical and political power through a study of political speeches, war propaganda,  and other narratives
  • To identify the diversity, complexity, and the changing nature of global languages as seen through the lens of anthropological field study
  • To reflect on the role language plays in forming and maintaining personal identity or transforming social institutions

Course Activities and Design

Activities might include:

  • Lectures
  • Quizzes
  • Short papers
  • Linguistic Analysis exercises
  • Term papers
  • You Tube video viewing for prompting discussion and practicing transcription skills
  • Viewing of documentaries
  • discussion forums

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies may include any of the following:

* exams ( in class and take home)

* term papers

* quizzes

* student presentations

* Attendance and Participation

*speed culturing

*interviews of international students

*transcription exercises

* in-class activities and labs

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Themes:

  • language and world view
  • language and colonialism
  • language and urban culture
  • language and the verbal arts
  • language and gender
  • language and power
  • language and technology
  • Issues:   

  • How does language contribute to power dynamics in one culture or between cultures,including areas such as everyday interaction, education, media (advertising, news, film/tv, online), and political discourse?

  • How does language reflect or shape cultural values, institutions and world view?
  • How does language define us as individuals and mark us as members of social groups?
  • What role does language play in the process of enculturation?
  • Concepts:   

  • To identify different anthropological theories and methods used to study language and culture at the micro and macro-levels
  • To examine issues such as colonialism, language loss, or social bias in relationship to language and culture cross-culturally
  • To examine descriptive, historical linguistics and comparative linguistics and their relationship to anthropological fieldwork
  • To think critically about the various cultural ideologies that inform popular discussions of language and culture
  • Skills
  • Students are able to describe the impact of language on culture and culture on language.
  • Students are able to improve and demonstrate critical thinking skills through their examination of different aspects of language and culture
  • Students are able to describe the relationship between language and power structures within one society or between different societies