Language, Thought, and Politics|
Spring 2019 not offered
This course will offer an interdisciplinary historical investigation of the question of whether (or how) a language--through its grammar and lexicon--influences or even determines its speakers' thoughts and perceptions. We will examine philosophical, linguistic, ethnographic, and literary variations on this question from the 19th century to the present and the wide range of political assumptions and consequences that have entangled the question's various answers.
Topics will include the theories of Wilhelm von Humboldt and Benjamin Lee Whorf; the production and critiques of national languages; problems of translation, untranslatability, and universal grammar; gendered speech and l'écriture feminine; political correctness; and linguistic utopianism in speculative fiction.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)
Wilhelm von Humboldt, Johann Gottfried von Herder, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Edwin Sapir, Benjamin Lee Whorf, George Orwell, W.V. Quine, Noam Chomsky, Pierre Bourdieu, William Labov, Hélène Cixous, Julia Kristeva, Robin Tolmach Lakoff, Kathy Acker, Samuel Delaney, Susan Haden Elgin
|Examination and Assignments: |
Weekly reading responses (350-word maximum); term paper