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2022 Spring

LANGUAGE & POWER - COM380/COM580 Spring 2022


Course
Eva Eckert
For information about registration please contact our admissions.

Language and power form a symbiosis that has been forever explored and debated by philosophers, poets and linguists. Power shapes languages and languages generate power. Language defines humanity and represents its unique communication system. But its true power lies in transferring information, constructing histories, cultures and identities, setting up networks, channeling emotions and defining esthetics. Language has power over us, and we succumb to its rules. Language is exploited in politics, media and advertising to manipulate and control. Living in and using language presupposes social and emotional engagement. Language and Power analyzes essays on language, power and violence by thinkers such as Orwell, Zizek, Chomsky and others, and dwells on questions such as: Do all humans have language"? Are those with writing more powerful than those without it? Do we all have the right to speak a maternal tongue and form a community around it? Are multilinguals more powerful than monolinguals? For a language to become powerful does it depend on social management? Et al."

Here is the course outline:

1. The power of being human

Language and human advancement; Evolutionary origins of language Language design

2. LANGUAGE and POWER

LANGUAGE, THOUGHT and REPRESENTATION

3. LANGUAGE and DISCOURSE

Where does the power of language come from and in what ways does it manifest?

4. Discourse and power

Class 3: Discourse and power

5. RHETORIC: The power of a speech

RHETORIC: The power of a speech

6. LANGUAGE and POLITICS: IDEOLOGY and PROPAGANDA

Class 6: IDEOLOGY and PROPAGANDA

7. MIDTERM

8. Truth-speaking and the power of resistance

LETTERS from PRISON: Jan Hus and Václav Havel

9. POLITICS, PROTEST and CIVIL RESISTANCE

Protest and disobedience

10. NATION and LANGUAGE

Language, power & nation

11. POWER of the STANDARD LANGUAGE

Class 10: Standard language

12. DIVERSITY, LOCALIZATION and GLOBALIZATION

DIVERSITY, LOCALIZATION and GLOBALIZATION

13. LANGUAGE RIGHTS

LANGUAGE RIGHTS

14. Language loss

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