Instructor: Tom Purnell
Day(s) and Time: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:05 – 12:55 pm
Modality: In person
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing
English 319 Counts toward Biological Science or Social Science; counts toward Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S; counts toward Ethnic Studies requirement; Intermediate. Does not count toward 50% graduate coursework requirement.
In-person classroom lecture; all the readings are on Canvas as are assignments. Writing in this class ranges from short, two sentence responses to readings, to three two-page evaluations of media dealing with course topics, to a semester-end paper (10 to 15 pages, depending on need such as grad or med school or if a student is advanced or a graduate student). Group projects as well as individual work.
English 319—Language, Race, and Identity—examines the role of language in the social construction of racial identity in the US. Combining research and theory from anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, and linguistics, this course emphasizes the essential relations between language, culture, and our genetic endowment specific to humans. We begin with a brief study of current theories on the language faculty and the social construction of race. We then address the different language issues facing the identity of speakers within speech communities with vital non-standard components (African Americans, Latinos/as, Native Americans, Asian Americans). This course positions basic linguistic concepts (on language structure, for example) within the interface between language and culture/biology.
This course studies how language influences racial identity in the United States. The subject draws on various fields, such as anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, and linguistics, to show the significant connection between language, culture, and our genetic makeup. The course explores the nature versus nurture debate and how languages work as a system and a product of group behavior. The course is divided into three sections: genetics of race and language, theories about language and its relation to the social construction of race, and language-related challenges in speech communities where non-standard components are dominant. The course emphasizes the need to comprehend the underlying mechanisms of phenotype and language to combat errors from the past. The variations in phenotype and language arise differently, with phenotypes by mutations and languages by contact, migration, and other ways.