Linguistic Anthropology: On the Power of Gestures, Jokes, and Words
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Social Sciences
Course Number: NANT 3300
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
We often think of language as simply a means of expressing ideas and exchanging information. But as we move through our daily lives, our words and gestures continually construct, negotiate, and contest our identities, social worlds, and political conditions. This class explores the powerful role played by communication--and miscommunication--in the formation of gender dynamics, class relations, ethnoracial identities, cultural institutions, and national boundaries. Students gain an understanding of the anthropological subfield of linguistic anthropology through ethnographic readings and firsthand observation of linguistic forms and language practices. Readings examine the ideas about language and complex dynamics and multiple layers of meaning in everyday language use, from bodega chitchat to dinnertime narratives to psychiatric interviews to drunken humor.