ANTH 231 - S/Sociolinguistics
Fall 2015


Wednesdays and Fridays 8:30-9:45 am, Bailey 201
Instructor Jennifer R. Guzmán, PhD
Office hours Bailey 108, Tuesday 2:15-3:45, Wednesday 1:00-2:30, and by appointment.
Feel free to visit office hours to discuss any questions you have about course
content, assignments, or your academic progress.
Email Feel free to email questions that can be answered
briefly. If you have a complex question or situation, please visit me during
office hours. I read e-mail Monday-Friday. Allow 1-2 days for a response.
When sending email, include ANTH 231 and a topic in the subject line.
Office Phone (585) 245-5174. I check the voicemail on this phone infrequently.

Course description
This course is part of the linguistic anthropology series at SUNY Geneseo. The course
introduces students to research and methods in sociolinguistics via a survey of the large
body of sociolinguistic research on language and gender. Students will gain understanding
about the role of language use in the construction of gender identity and expression. The
view of gender adopted in the course is an intersectional one, which affords a
consideration of gender as always and necessarily interrelated with other domains of
social life, especially race/ethnicity, class, profession, age, and sexuality. The course
addresses topics that include: nature/nurture controversies about gendered speech,
gendered speech across the lifecourse, stereotypes, normativity and deviance, and
agency/power. Students will gain familiarity with culturally specific ways that language
varieties and linguistic choices reflect, reproduce, and reshape social norms related to
gender in diverse communities of practice.

Learning Outcomes
• Develop critical awareness of how ways of speaking are tied to social categories
and play a role in social inequalities.
• Hone critical reading, synthesizing, and social scientific writing skills.
• Gain familiarity with major theoretical concepts and debates in the study of
language and gender

Required Texts and Materials
o Eckert and McConell-Ginet. 2013. Language and Gender.
o Mendoza-Denton, Norma. Homegirls. Wiley-Blackwell.
o Package of 3x5 cards
o Other readings will be posted to MyCourses
Please bring each day’s readings (and your notes about them) with you to class.

Course Requirements:
1. Engaged and thoughtful participation: evaluation will be based on students’ active
participation in class discussion and in-class activities, including individual writing
tasks and group activities.
2. Reading quizzes: at the beginning of most class sessions, students will respond to a
brief 2-3 question quiz on the assigned reading(s) for the day. Quiz answers should be
written on a 3x5 card that will be turned in, graded, and then returned during the
following week. There are no make-up quizzes. Each student’s lowest quiz score will
be dropped. The quizzes have two purposes: to motivate students to keep up with
course readings and to reiterate the main points of those readings such that students
will be well prepared for the exams.
3. Analysis exercise: designed to provide hands-on experience with the study of language
and gender from a sociolinguistic framework, this assignment requires students to
analyze a song of their choice. Late assignments will be penalized one-half grade per
day (e.g. a B+ drops to a B).
4. Exam I: an in-class exam will ask students to demonstrate and apply learning from
readings and lecture during the first two units of the semester.
5. Research paper: Students will write an 8-10-page paper about a topic relevant to the
course. Late assignments will be penalized one-half grade per day (e.g. B+ drops to B).
6. Exam II: the final exam will ask students to demonstrate and apply learning from
Homegirls, the ethnography that we will read during the last unit of the semester.

Grading Structure
Analysis exercise
Exam I
Research paper
Exam II
Grading: Grading for this class follows the standards for letter grading described in the
Geneseo Undergraduate Bulletin:
A / A- Excellent work
B+, B, B- Very good work
C / C+ Satisfactory work (Note: work fulfilling all stipulated requirements and
completed on-time may fall into this category)
C- Work demonstrating minimal competence
D Marginal work
E (failure) 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.

Accommodation: If you need classroom accommodations due to a documented or
suspected learning difference, please contact Dean Buggie-Hunt (
at the Office of Disability Services (ODS) and bring me a letter outlining the
accommodations you require. Do so as early as possible.

Academic Honesty
You are responsible for abiding by the SUNY Geneseo policies on academic honesty.
Please familiarize yourself with the policies and speak with me about any questions or
doubts you have.

Readings and assignments are due on the date they are listed. Schedule subject to change
as needed.
Unit 1: Concepts and Theories about Women’s and Men’s Speech
Week 1 – Introduction to Language and Gender

Sept 2 Read syllabus carefully; enter important dates in your calendar
In class activity: Toni Morrison’s Nobel Lecture. We will listen to a
recording of Morrison’s speech and discuss it:
Handout: short entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica about Morrison:
Sept 4 Language and Gender Chapter 1 “An Introduction to Gender”
In class: Bucholtz. 1999. Gender. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 9(1-

Week 2 Conceptualizing Language, Culture, Gender, Sex
Sept 9 Language and Gender Chapter 2 “Introduction to the study of language and
In class: Boston Globe “Larry Summers’ remarks on women draw fire” and
The Guardian “Girls and Science: Why the Gender Gap Exists and What to
Do about It”
Sept 11 Talbot “Sex and Gender” pp 7-14
Kimura “Sex Differences in the Brain” pp 32-37
In class: Washington Post “Transgender at Five” and
NYTimes “What’s So Bad about a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress”

Week 3 The Two Cultures Model
Sept 16 Language and Gender Chapter 6 (especially pp 144-162)
Sept 18 Tannen “Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers”
Maltz and Borker “A Cultural Approach to Male-Female

Week 4 Moving Beyond ‘Difference’ and ‘Dominance’
Sept 23 Language and Gender Chapter 4 “Getting It Said”
Okamoto “Tasteless Japanese” pp 297-319
Sept 25 Language and Gender Chapter 3 “Linguistic Resources”
Davies “’Women’s Language’ and Martha Stewart” pp 187-193

Week 5 Language, Gender, Politeness
Sept 30 Language and Gender Chapter 5 “Making Nice”
Oct 2 Brown “How and Why Are Women More Polite: Some Evidence from a
Mayan Community”
Women and Politeness: The Javanese Example

Week 6 Language, Gender, and Assertiveness
Oct 7 “Sporting Formulae in New Zealand English: Two Models of Male
Oct 9 McElhiny “Challenging Hegemonic Masculinities: Female and Male Police
Officers Handling Domestic Violence”
Unit 2: Construction and Performance of Gendered Identity: Power, Agency, Resistance

Week 7 Hegemony, Indexicality, and Performance
Oct 14 Language and Gender Chapter 7 “Where Common Sense Comes From and
Where It Hides”
Oct 16 Language and Gender Chapter 10 “Fashioning Selves”

Week 8 Power and Resistance Through Music
Oct 21 White “Revolution Girl-Style Now!: Notes from the Teenage Feminist Rock
‘n’ Roll Underground”
Walser “Forging Masculinity: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal
In class: receive assignment for analysis exercise, which involves analyzing
the lyrics and delivery of a song of your choosing.
Oct 23 Performing Alternative Identities
Hall “’Unnatural’ Gender in Hindi”
Barrett “Indexing Polyphonous Identity in the Speech of African-American
Drag Queens”

Week 9 Gender and Emotion from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
Oct 28 Lutz “Emotion, Thought, and Estrangement: Emotion as a Cultural Category”
Kiesling “Dude”
In class: Tough Guise (film)
Oct 30 Briggs “’Since I Am A Woman, I Will Chastise My Relatives’: Gender,
Reported Speech, and the (Re)Production of Social Relations in Warao
Ritual Wailing (Venezuela)”
Burdelski and Mitsuhashi “’She Thinks You’re Kawaii’: Socializing Affect,
Gender, and Relationships in a Japanese Preschool”

Week 10 Language Ideologies
Nov 4 Language and Gender Chapter 9 “Constructing Nations, Constructing
Boundaries” pp 226-240
DUE: analysis assignment
Nov 6 Morgan “No Woman, No Cry: Claiming African-American Women’s Place”
Fader "Redeeming Sacred Sparks: Syncretism and Gendered Language
Shift among Hasidic Jews in New York"
Week 11 Gendered Identities and Social Class/Status
Nov 11 García-Sánchez “Serious Games: Code-Switching and Gendered Identities
in Moroccan Immigrant Girls’ Pretend Play”
Goodwin “Hidden Life of Girls: Language Practices for Indexing Social
Nov 13 Gender in the Media
Goffman “Gender Commercials” pp 24-28 and 40-56
Romaniuk “The ‘Clinton Cackle’: On the Gendered Nature of Media
Representation of Clinton’s Laughter”
Optional: Gill “Postfeminist Media Culture”
In-class: Miss Representation (film)

Week 12
Nov 18 Review for exam
Nov 20 EXAM I
Suggestion: start reading Homegirls

Week 13
Nov 25 No class due to federal holiday
Nov 27 No class due to federal holiday
Unit 3: Ethnographic Case Study
Week 14 Ethnographic Case Study
Dec 2 Homegirls Introduction + Chapters 1, 2
Dec 4 Homegirls Chapters 3, 4, 5
DUE: Research Paper (by the end of the calendar day in the DropBox)
Week 15 Ethnographic Case Study
Dec 9 Homegirls Chapters 6, 7
Dec 11 Homegirls Chapters 8-10
Final exam: 12:00-3:00pm, Tuesday, December 22, 2015
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Excerpt from Toni Morrison’s Nobel Lecture:
“Being a writer she thinks of language partly as a system, partly as a living thing over which
one has control, but mostly as agency - as an act with consequences. So the question the
children put to her: "Is it living or dead?" is not unreal because she thinks of language as
susceptible to death, erasure; certainly imperiled and salvageable only by an effort of the