Anthropology | Pro-Seminar in Language and Culture
L500 | 27402 | Suslak


This graduate-level seminar is an intensive introduction to the
anthropological study of language. In it we examine language as a
cultural system and speech as a socially embedded communicative
practice through which social relations and cultural forms are
constituted. We pay particular attention to the key concepts of text
and context.

What exactly is a text? What do we really mean when we talk about
sociocultural context or when we claim to be contextualizing
ethnographic knowledge? Other topics include the relation of language
to other sign systems, speech acts and performativity, speech genres,
ritual language, oratory, language and politics, and ideologies of
language. This seminar has several goals: (1) to help students develop
a critical awareness of the place of language in the constitution of
social relations; (2) to provide them with a comprehensive
understanding of theory and practice in the field of linguistic
anthropology; and (3) to equip them with the analytic tools needed to
understand and evaluate contemporary research in this field.