This course will focus on the social and political power of language—its role in oppression, and also (in more optimistic moments) its role in liberation. A key concern throughout will be to identify and come to understand the ways that language can manipulate the way we see the world and the actions that we engage in. Each student will identify a particular real-life case study that will form the basis for their main assessment, and discuss it by applying the theoretical work we have read.
The main assessment will be a term paper (70%). In preparation for this students will make presentations of work-in-progress to the class (15%). Students will also be required to write brief responses to weekly readings (15%).
A few examples of readings:
Anderson, Luvell. 2017. “Hermeneutical Impasses”, Philosophical Topics 45 (2): 1-19.
Dembroff, Robin and Wodak, Daniel. 2018. “He/She/They/Ze”, Ergo 5.
Saul, Jennifer. 2019. “Racial Figleaves, the Shifting Boundaries of the Permissible, and the Rise of Donald Trump”, Philosophical Topics 45 (2): 97-116.
Stanley, Jason. 2015. How Propaganda Works, Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 4.