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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Belief,Thought and Language (PGSP11174)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe emphasis of this course will be on showing how anthropology and comparative studies have enriched understanding of the dynamic of language, and how engagement with the subject 'language', and with other disciplines concerned with this subject, have historically influenced anthropological thinking. Students will be introduced to a range of different anthropological approaches to the study of language, and to a variety of interests that have led anthropologists to take an interest in language and literary activity. The course demonstrates that in addition to communicating social reality through diverse mediums and strategies (attention is drawn to description, illustration, evocation and performance; to speech and to writing), language plays a role in constituting social reality. Language has therefore relevance for a broad range of general concerns and specialized interest, and this applies for both scholarship and social and political action. Connections that will be explored include the intersections with processes of personhood, statecraft, political resistance, and institutions of justice.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
The course will offer a good theoretical overview of the place of language in everyday social life and critical political innovation, and of ideas derived from linguistics and language philosophy in anthropological theorising. By the end of the course students should have a strong sense of how social and political actors work language, and of the importance, scope and distinctiveness of anthropology's contribution to the cross-cultural analysis of language. It is also expected that students will have acquired valuable research skills to design and carry out empirical studies of language activity. The reading list includes classical material and works relating to current debates so that students will be aware of both when they come across these approaches and debates in the literature and in future field situations.
Assessment Information
This course will be assessed by a long essay (word-limit: 4,000).
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Saussure and the structure of language
Wittgenstein and meaning as use
Whorf and relativity
Bakhtin and dialogicality
ideology in Language
Language and Gender
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Bauman, R. and C L Briggs. 1990. "Poetics and Performance as Critical Perspectives
on Language and Social Life." Annual Review of Anthropology 19: 59-
Borneman, John. 2002. "Reconciliation After Ethnic Cleansing: Listening,
Retribution, Affiliation." Public Culture 14(2).
Cameron, Deborah. 1998. 'Gender, Language, and Discourse: A Review Essay.
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 23(4):945-973.
Cohn, Carol. 1987. "Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals."
Signs: The Journal of Women in Culture and Society 12:687-718.
Culler, Jonathan.1975. Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study
of Literature. London: Routledge.
Gellner, E. 1998. Language and Solitude: Malinowski, Wittgenstein, and the
Habsburg Dilemma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goody, J. (ed.) 1968. Literacy in Traditional Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Holquist, Michael. 1990. Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World. Routledge: London.
Hymes, D. 2004. In Vain I Tried to Tell You: essays in Native American
ethnopoetics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Irvine, Judith. 1989. When Talk Isn't Cheap: language and political economy.
American Ethnologist, Vol.16, No.2: 248-267.
Jakobson, Roman. 1990. Langue and Parole: Code and Message. In On Language.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Levi-Strauss, Claude. 1955. The Structural Study of Myth. The Journal of American
Folklore, Vol.68, No.270: 428-444.
Saussure, Ferdinand. 1983. Course in General Linguistics. R. Harris, trans. LaSalle,
Il: Open Court.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 2001. Philosophical Investigations (3rd edition). G.E.M.
Anscombe, trans. Oxford: Blackwell.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern The course involves one two-hour session a week for ten weeks, together with small group support teaching in separate one-hour sessions (one every two weeks). In the main session, most weeks will involve a mixture of a lecture and some discussion and group work. The 'small group' support teaching will normally be concerned with one or more readings that illustrate, underpin or extend issues raised in the main sessions. Students should note that participation in the small group support teaching sessions is compulsory.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Magnus Course
Tel: (0131 6)51 3893
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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