Anthropology | Proseminar in Lang & Culture
L500 | 21285 | 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.