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PWR 2JJB: Language in Context: (Re)appropriation and Reclamation

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Fall 2021: Not offered

Winter 2022: TTh 9:30AM-11:15AM

Spring 2022: TTh 9:30AM-11:15AM

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP) 

Prerequisite: PWR 1, ESF, ITALIC 95W, or equivalent

Course Feature: WR-2 requirement

Indigenous scholars recently called for the American Anthropological Association to pause and reevaluate the ritual of land acknowledgments intended to honor indigenous people at the start of conferences (Lambert et. al).  How might these “welcoming” rituals used by schools, businesses, cities, and sports teams serve to appropriate indigenous practices and reproduce power relations? How might these rituals be reimagined to recognize historical trauma and advocate for land repatriation?

In this writing and speaking course, we will consider how linguistic and cultural appropriation, or as linguistic anthropologist Jane Hill states, “borrowings-as-theft,” takes place across spheres like music, pop culture, dance, media, fashion, and the arts acting to exclude communities from symbolic resources. We’ll take a closer look at the ideological forces underpinning language appropriation---whiteness, colonialism, ableism, capitalism and monolingualism. We’ll also examine how communities and speakers continuously reshape language practices, reclaim spaces, and reposition their identities.

You are invited to take an interdisciplinary approach to examine an issue that matters to you. Student projects might explore the ways second generation immigrant communities assert their identities through hybrid language practices, examine the role of social media in performative activism, interrogate the use of mock accents or investigate the intersection of music genres, such as the influence of AAVE on K-pop.  Exploring new modes in written and oral communication, you will have the opportunity to consider a wide range of genres and translate your argument and research findings into a presentation for live audiences. Through multimedia presentations and in-class workshops, we’ll focus on public speaking, embodied rhetoric, and slide design.

Major Assignments                                                                                                      

Research Proposal

(5-minute live oral presentation; written text of 900-1200 words) You’ll propose a project that explores the social, cultural, aesthetic, or political dimensions of an issue. Students will translate their proposal into a 5 minute research pitch.

Written Research-Based Argument

(3000-3600 words; 10-12 pages) Drawing on primary and secondary sources, you’ll expand upon the ideas expressed in your research proposal to craft a research-based argument that seeks to persuade your intended audience and make a small contribution to the conversation. You may choose to have a component of primary research, such as rhetorical/discourse analysis, archival research, field work, or other qual/quan research to supplement your secondary research.

Delivery of Research

(10-minute live oral presentation with appropriate multimedia support) You will translate your written argument about language and culture for a live 10-minute oral presentation with a Q&A.                                       

Genre/Modes assignment

(3 research memos, 300-500 words each) You will build a small “Researcher Portfolio” tracing your journey as a researcher. The portfolio consists of three memos:  #1 “Literacies & Languages”, and #2 “Researcher Positionality” and #3 “Research Publication” (cover letter and abstract). For the first two memos, you may craft your memos in the ethnographic tradition or translate your memo into a different mode/genre (e.g. visual, music, poem).