ANTH 120 – S/Language and Culture
Fall 2014


Wednesday and Friday 11:30 am - 12:45 pm, Newton 203
Prof. Jennifer Guzman
Bailey Hall 108
(585] 245-5174
Office hours: Tuesday 12:00-1:30, Friday 2:30-4:00, and by appointment

Course description: An Introduction to the study of language as a cultural resource and speaking as a cultural practice, this course is the first in the linguistic anthropology series at SUNY Geneseo. It familiarizes students with basic concepts for understanding language as a human capacity that not only provides a vehicle for thought or conveying ideas but one for creating, sustaining, and changing the social world. Topics include: the mutually constitutive roles of language and sociocultural communities, cross-cultural communication in contemporary society, linguistic relativity, language acquisition and socialization, and the power of language.
This course fulfills a basic requirement of the Bachelor of Arts major in anthropology and the SUNY Geneseo General Education requirement in Social Sciences, as described in the Undergraduate Bulletin. As such, the course is designed "to deepen students' understanding and awareness of important aspects of human behavior and social organization, to increase students' understanding of the human condition and human institutions, and to introduce them to the different approaches and methods used by the various social science disciplines. These goals are pursued through theoretically and empirically based course work" (50-51).
Learning Outcomes: Through participation in this course students will:
•    Gain familiarity with basic concepts in linguistic anthropology
•    Gain familiarity and practice with oral history interviewing techniques
•    Develop reflexive and academic writing skills for reporting findings from social scientific research in the anthropological tradition
Required texts:
o Basso, Keith. 1996. Wisdom Sits in Places. University of New Mexico Press.
o Duranti, Alessandro. 2009. Linguistic Anthropology: A Reader. Wiley-Blackwell.
Selections from this book are referred to as (reader) texts in the course schedule.
o All other readings will be posted to the course website. 

Course requirements:
1.    Attend a plagiarism workshop (see workshops). You will need to provide documentation that you have attended a session. Attendance at a session this semester is not worth "points" toward your final grade but is absolutely required.
2.    Exams
a.    2 midterm exams
b.    Final exam
3.    Assignments: Students will complete an independent research project broken down into 5 progress assignments and a final paper. The assignments will require students to do the following:
a.    Write a 2-page linguistic autobiography
b.    Design an oral history interview
c.    Take photographs of, conduct, and record an oral history interview that focuses on language matters with a family or community elder
d.    Create an analytic index that organizes themes from the interview
e.    Create a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes findings from the project in a succinct and visually accessible manner
f.    Write a 4-7 page final report elaborating the findings from the project

Grading structure:
15% Midterm 1 15% Midterm 2 20% Final exam 10% Linguistic autobiography 5% Oral history interview guide 5% Consent forms, photographs, interview recording 5% Interview index 5% PowerPoint slideshow 20% Final paper
Grading: Criteria for letter grading in this course follows Geneseo Undergraduate Bulletin standards, which stipulate A, A- for excellent work, B+, B, B- for very good work, C+, C for satisfactory work, C- for work demonstrating minimal competence, D for marginal work, and E (failure) for inadequate work. Other possible grades are: P (pass), F (fail), S (satisfactory), U (unsatisfactory), and W (withdrawn). Consult the Bulletin for details about these latter grades.
Gradebook will generate grades according to the following scheme:
A = 94%"+
A - = 90 - 93.99 %
B+ = 87 - 89.99 %
B = 83 - 86.99 %
B - = 80 - 82.99 % 
C+ = 77 - 79.99 %
C = 73 - 76.99 %
C - = 68 - 72.99 %
D = 58 - 67.99 %
E =0-57.99%

Accommodation: If you need classroom accommodations due to a documented or suspected disability, please contact Tabitha Buggie-Hunt at f at the Office of Disability Services (ODS) then bring Prof. Guzman a letter outlining the accommodations you require as early as possible.
Writing assistance: Academic writing is a skill that, like any other, requires a lot of practice. Becoming a better writer involves persistence and the help of others. Please avail yourself of the excellent assistance that is available at the Writing Learning Center on campus. For information or to make an appointment for a one-on-one meeting see: center

Course policies and expectations: This is a challenging course that requires considerable reading (frequently 50 pages of academic text per class session) and progressive work on project-related assignments outside of class. It is imperative that students keep up with the readings and come to class prepared to engage actively with the themes they cover. Deadlines: Assignments are due in the appropriate Dropbox (on the course webpage) by midnight on the day listed in the Course Schedule. Assignments turned in after this deadline will be docked a half-grade per day of lateness.

Participation: We are incredibly privileged to participate in higher education. Please respect the opportunity that class sessions offer for learning, analyzing, and discussing issues that impact our lives as members of civil society. Turn off cell phone ringers and refrain from participating in social media and any other activities unrelated to the course during class time. Students who violate this policy will be asked to leave the lecture hall for the rest of the class session. If you have extenuating circumstances that require you to keep your ringer on during class, please let the instructor know in advance.
Studying tips: Research shows we learn best when we make learning active. Due to the large size of this course, it is not feasible to conduct small, targeted discussion sections. As a result, you will need to take a proactive role to ensure you learn the material covered in lectures and readings. Helpful hints for success: use the questions at the end of chapters in the Reader to "quiz" yourself on key points; write out and define key terms that we cover and try to think of examples for each; attend lecture regularly and keep organized notes; find a study partner or group you can compare notes with; ask questions during lecture or visit Dr. Guzman during office hours when you need clarification; keep up with course readings and assignments.

Week 1 - Introduction & Key Concepts
Aug 27 Read course syllabus, enter relevant dates into your calendar
Aug 29 Navigate through the "History," "Human Variation," and "Lived Experience" sections of the Understanding Race website. Make sure to watch the videos, including the video that accompanies the "History" section, and be sure to closely read the "Race and Human Variation" sub-section of the "Human Variation" section,
Week 2 - Speech Communities in Multicultural Society I
Sept 3 Gumperz "The Speech Community" (Reader)
Morgan "The African-American Speech Community: Reality and Sociolinguists" (Reader)
Sept 4 ***If you are able, I strongly recommend attending:
K1MCHEE AND CHITLINS by Elizabeth Wong
4:00 pm FREE reading of a "serious comedy about getting along" based on the conflict between Korean and African American communities that occurred in Flatbush, Brooklyn during the 1990's. Black Box Theatre, one performance only, first come, first seated. Co-sponsored by Theater and GENseng
Sept 5 Spitulnik "The Social Circulation of Media Discourse and the Mediation of Communities" (Reader)
In-class: PBS documentary "Do You Speak American?"
Week 3 - Speech Communities in Multicultural Society II
Sept 10 Ahearn, Laura. 2011. Ch. 10. Language, Race, and Ethnicity. Living Language. Maiden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Bailey "Communication of Respect in Interethnic Service Encounters" (Reader)
Sept 12 Leung, Harris, & Rampton "The Idealised Native Speaker, Reified Ethnicities, and Classroom Realities" (Reader)
Avineri. Netta. 2014. "Yiddish Endangerment as Phenomenological Reality and
Discursive Strategy." Language & Communication.
DUE: Linguistic Autobiography
Week 4 - Linguistic Relativity, or How Language Shapes Thought
Sept 17 Whorf, Benjamin Lee. "The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behaviour to , Language." Reprinted in Ben G. Blount (ed.) Language, Culture, and Society. 2nd ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. 
Sept 19 Review in preparation for midterm
Week 5 - The Performance of Language I
Sept 26 Hymes "Ways of Speaking" (reader)
"Interviewing Guidelines" webpage from the UCLA Center for Oral History Research: (Also recommended: The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide:
Week 6 - The Performance of Language II
Oct 1    Briggs & Bauman "Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power"(reader)
Duranti "Narrating the Political Self in a Campaign for US Congress" (reader)
Oct 3    Alim "Hip Hop Nation Language" (reader)
DUE: Interview Questions & Confirmed Interviewee
Week 7 - Language & Place I
Oct 8    Ch 1. Quoting the Ancestors, Wisdom Sits in Places
Oct 10 Ch. 2 Stalking with Stories, Wisdom Sits in Places
Week 8 - Language & Place II
Oct 15 Ch. 3 Speaking with Names, Wisdom Sits in Places DUE: Consent Forms, Recording, & Photographs
Oct 17 Ch. 4 Wisdom Sits in Places, Wisdom Sits in Places
Week 9 - Language Socialization I
Oct 22    Duranti pp.23-26 section 7: 'Language Acquisition and Language
Socialization' in the introductory chapter "Linguistic Anthropology: History, Ideas, and Issues" (reader)
Ochs & Schieffelin "Language Acquisition and Socialization: Three Developmental Stories and Their Implications" (reader)
Oct 24    Philips "Participant Structures and Communicative Competence: Warm
Springs Children in Community and Classroom" (reader)
Heath "What No Bedtime Story Means: Narrative Skills at Home and School"
DUE: Interview Index
Week 10 - Language Socialization II
Oct 29 Lippi-Green. 1997. Ch. 5. Teaching Children How to Discriminate. English with an Accent. London: Routledge. 
ANTH 120 Language and Culture
Oct 31 Review for midterm.
Week 11 - Power in Language I: Language Ideologies Nov 5- MIDTERM II
Nov 7    Kroskrity "Arizona Tewa Kiva Speech as a Manifestation of a Dominant
Language Ideology" (reader)
Irvine & Gal "Language Ideology and Linguistic Differentiation" (reader)
Week 12 - Power in Language: Gender
Nov 12 Ahearn, Laura. 2011. Ch. 9. Language and Gender. Living Language. Maiden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ochs & Taylor "The 'Father Knows Best' Dynamic in Dinnertime Narratives" (reader)
Nov 14 Cameron, Deborah. 2000. "Styling the Worker: Gender and the
Commodification of Language in the Globalized Service Economy." Journal of Sociolinguistics 4/3:323-347.
DUE: Powerpoint Slideshow (submit to dropbox)
Week 13 - Power in Language: Racism, Language at Work
Nov 19 Hill "Language, Race, and White Public Space" (reader)
Santa Ana. 2002. Ch. 3 Proposition 187: Misrepresenting Immigrants and Immigration. Brown Tide Rising. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Nov 21 Goodwin "Professional Vision" (reader)
Heritage et al. 2007. Reducing Patients' Unmet Concerns in Primary Care. Journal of General Internal Medicine 22(10):1429-33.
Week 14
Nov 26 - National holiday - no class Nov 28 - National holiday - no class Week 15
Dec 3 - The magic lecture...when everything suddenly makes sense DUE: Final Paper
Dec 5 - Remote review - I will be out of town to attend the American
Anthropological Association meetings on this date. Review format TBA.
Final exam: Wednesday, Dec 10,12:00-3:00 pm, Newton 203 (regular classroom)