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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, NAU
Department of Anthropology
ANT 714: Advanced Seminar in Linguistic Anthropology
Spring 2007
Wednesday 5:30-8 p.m.
3 credit hours

Instructor: James M. Wilce, Ph.D.

Office address: Anthropology (Bldg. 60) Rm. 211

Phone and email: 523-2729;

Office hours: Tuesday 12:15-1:30; Thursday 11-noon; and by appointment

Course prerequisites: ANT 614

Course description: Advanced theoretical and methodological readings in linguistic anthropology will be applied in a final research project resulting in a paper publishable in a peer-review journal. Readings will include several ethnographies by linguistic anthropologists. The course will include training in collection and analysis of audio or videotaped data.

Student Learning Expectations/Outcomes for this Course: The course will prepare students to carry out graduate research in linguistic anthropology grounded in the latest theory and methods in use in the discipline. Students write a publishable paper in linguistic anthropology that may be incorporated into a thesis or dissertation. More specifically:
1)         Students will read approximately 150 pages per week.
2)         Students will write six 3-4 page critiques of the readings over the semester; the lowest grade will be dropped. See the guidelines for writing these on the last page of the syllabus.
3)         Finally, a publishable paper (20-30 pages) whose topic is worked out in advance with the professor will develop the student’s research interests using the theoretical and methodological perspectives acquired in this course. Students are required to use original data (audio or video recordings), obtained with IRB approval, or data that is in the public domain, or has previously obtained IRB approval here or elsewhere. Help in editing and analysis of taped material will be available at the department’s labs and/or the South Campus LAC.

Course structure/approach: This is a seminar. Students lead discussions, sharing already (by virtue of reading), and adding (through discussion) to, a high level of understanding.

REQUIRED TEXTS (Note: Some of these you should have already) (Abbreviations in parens)
Agha, Asif
2006    Language and Social Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (Agha)

Bauman, Richard, and Charles Briggs
2003    Voices of Modernity: Language ideologies and the Politics of Inequality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Voices)

Caton, Steven C.
1990    "Peaks of Yemen I Summon": Poetry as Cultural Practice in a North Yemeni Tribe. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press. (Book online through Cline) (Caton)

Duranti, Alessandro
1997    Linguistic Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Duranti, Alessandro, ed.
2001    Linguistic Anthropology: A Reader. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Eckert, Penelope
2000    Linguistic Variation as Social Practice: The Linguistic Construction of Identity in Belten High. Malden: Blackwell Publishers. (Eckert)

Goodwin, Marjorie H.
2006    The Hidden Life of Girls: Games of Stance, Status, and Exclusion. Malden: Blackwell Publishers. (Goodwin)

Hanks, William F.
1996    Language and Communicative Practices. Boulder: Westview. (Hanks)

Jaffe, Alexandra
1999    Ideologies in Action: Language Politics on Corsica. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. (Jaffe)

Kroskrity, Paul, ed.
2000    Regimes of Language. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. (Regimes)

Ochs, Elinor, and Lisa Capps
2001    Living Narrative: Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (LIVNARR)

Schieffelin, Bambi B., Kathryn A. Woolard, and Paul Kroskrity, eds.
1998    Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory. New York: Oxford University Press. (Schieffelin)

Silverstein, Michael and Gregory Urban, eds.
1996    Natural Histories of Discourse. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. (NHD)

Tedlock, Dennis, and Bruce Mannheim, eds.
1995    The Dialogic Emergence of Culture. Champaign/Urbana: University of Illinois. (DE)

Bakhtin, Mikhail
1981    The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press.

1984    The Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. C. Emerson, transl. Volume 8. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Jakobson, Roman
1987    Language in Literature. Cambridge, MA. and London: The Belnap Press of Harvard University. (Jakob87)

1990    On Language. L.R. Waugh and M. Monville-Burston, transl. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. (Jakob90)

Volosinov, Valentin Nikolaevitch
1973    Marxism and the Philosophy of language. L. Matejka and I.R. Titunik, transl. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Course Outline

Week 1  1/17 Introduction


Week 2  1/24 Linguistic Anthropology: Reviewing and Deepening the Foundations

Hanks ch. 2, The Language of Saussure, pp 21-38; ch 3, From Signs to Sentences, pp. 39-65
Hanks ch. 10, Elements of Communicative Practice (pp. 229-247)
Hanks chs. 6 (118-139 [Three Phenomenologies of Language] Agha Introduction (1-13); Chapter 1 Reflexivity (14-83)

Week 3  1/31 Reviewing and Deepening the Foundations, Ctd.: Register, Dialogism

Paper 1 due (on Weeks 2 and 3 readings)
Agha Chapter 2, From Referring to Registers (84-144); Chapter 3, Register Formations
Bakhtin 1981, pp. 259-294 (a fragment of the essay, Discourse in the Novel) (Web)
Hanks chapter 11, Communicative Practice in the Corporeal Field (248-267)

Week 4  2/7    Language, Narrative and Identity

White, Geoffrey
            2004    National Subjects: September 11 and Pearl Harbor. American Ethnologist 31(3):293–310.
LIVNARR Chapter 1 (A Dimensional Approach to Narrative), 1-58; Chapter 2 (Becoming a Narrator), 59-112; Chapter 3 (Launching a Narrative (113-129)


Goffman, Erving
1963    Stigma:  Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
1973    [1959] The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press.

Week 5  2/14 Conversation Analysis in Linguistic Anthropology
Heritage, John
1995    Conversation Analysis: Methodological Aspects. In Aspects of Oral Communication. U.M. Quasthoff, ed. Pp. 391-418. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Goodwin Preface vii-ix, Chapter 1, Introduction (pp. 1-31); Chapter 2, Multimodality, Conflict, and Rationality in Girls’ Games (32-72); Chapter 4, Social Organization, Opposition, and Directives in the Game of Jump Rope (121-155); Chapter 5, Language Practices for Indexing Social Status: Stories, Descriptions, Brags, and Comparisons (156-189)
Goffman, Erving
1983    The Interaction Order: American Sociological Association 1982 Presidential Address. American Sociological Review 48(1):1–17.

Week 6 2/21 Russian Formalism and the Analysis of Verbal Art: Parallelism and Poetics

Paper 2 due (Weeks 4-6 readings)
Jakob87 Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet (pp. 145-179): Subliminal verbal patterning in poetry), The Poetry of Grammar and the Grammar of Poetry (Pp. 121-144).
Caton Chapter 2 Gabyilah: Ideologies of Tribalism, Language, and Poetry (25-50); Chapter 4 The Balah: Poem as Play (79-109)

Caton Chapter 1 Doing an Ethnography of Poetry (3-24)
Silverstein, Michael
2004    "Cultural" Concepts and the Language-Culture Nexus. Current Anthropology 45(5):621-652.
Wilce, James M.
2006    Magical Laments and Anthropological Reflections: The Production and Circulation of Anthropological Text as Ritual Activity. Current Anthropology 47(6):891-914.
in press (to appear February 2008)     Scientizing Bangladeshi Psychiatry: Parallelism, Enregisterment, and the Cure for a Magic Complex. Language in Society 36(1).



Week 8 3/7 Beyond Formalism: Bakhtin and the Analysis of Voice

DE Introduction (pp. 1-32); Hill, The Voices of Don Gabriel (97-147); Tannen, Waiting for the Mouse: Constructed Dialogue in Conversation 198-217
Bakhtin 1984 Discourse in Dostoevsky (just pp. 181-202, a fragment of the essay)

Volosinov Exposition of the Problem of Reported Speech (115-123)

In future years assign Trawick 1988 instead of one of these readings
Caton Conclusion (249-270)
Goffman, Erving
1981    Footing. In Forms of talk. Pp. 124-259. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

3/9 Steve Caton’s Lecture, 3:30 p.m.

Week 9 3/14 Network Analysis and Quantitative Sociophonetics in the Study of Gender, Class and Adolescence

Paper 3 due (on readings for Weeks 8&9)
Eckert, chapter 4, The Vocalic Variables (85-101), 5 Outline of Variation in Belten High (102-138), 6 We Are What We Do (139-170), 7 Friendships, Networks, and Communities of Practice (171-212), 8 Style, Social Meaning, and Sound Change (213-228). Focus in particular on chapters 6-8.



Week 10 3/28 Agency and Language
Ahearn, Laura M.
 1998   “A Twisted Rope Binds My Waist”: Locating Constraints on Meaning in a Tij Songfest. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 8(1):60-86.
 2001   Language and Agency. Annual Review of Anthropology 30:109–137.
Duranti, Alessandro
2004    Agency in Language. In Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. A. Duranti, ed. Pp. 451-473. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Miller, Laura
 2004   Those Naughty Teenage Girls: Japanese Kogals, Slang, and Media Assessments. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 14(2):225–247.
Wilce, James M.
 1998   Eloquence in Trouble: The Poetics and Politics of Complaint in Rural Bangladesh. New York: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 4: Personhood: The ‘I’ in the Complaint, pp. 44-79).
NHD pp. 301-328 (Bauman, Transformations of the Word in the Production of Mexican Festival Drama)
Haney, Peter C.
2002    Bilingual Humor, Verbal Hygiene, and the Gendered Contradictions of Cultural Citizenship in Early Mexican American Comedy. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 13(2):163-188.

Week 11 4/4 Linguistic Change, Ritualization, and Transformations

Paper 4 due (Weeks 10 &11 readings)
Besnier, Niko
2006    Humor and Humiliation: Narratives of Modernity on Nukulaelae Atoll. Amsterdam: Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam.
Keane, Webb
2002    Sincerity, "Modernity," and the Protestants. Cultural Anthropology 17(1):65-92.
Robbins, Joel
2002    God is Nothing But Talk: Modernity, Language and Prayer in a Papua New Guinea Society. American Anthropologist 103(4):901-912.
Rampton, Ben
1995    Creole (ii): Degrees of Ritualisation in Ashmead and South London. In Crossing: Language and Ethnicity Among Adolescents. B. Rampton, ed. Pp. 200-224. Real Language Series. London: Longman.
More readings TBA

Week 12 4/11 Linguistic Change and Linguistic Ideologies I: Engaged Study of the Process of Language Revitalization Hoffman book

Hoffman, Katherine
2007    ‘We Share Walls’: Language, Land, and Gender in Berber Morocco. Blackwell. (Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture #2).
Chapter 1—Introduction: Staying Put; Ch 3—The Gender of Authenticity; Ch 5—Voicing the Homeland: Objectification, Order, Displacement; Ch 8—Mediating the Countryside: Purists and Pundits on Tashelhit Radio

Week 13 4/18 Linguistic Change and Linguistic Ideologies II

Regimes pp. 35-83 (Irvine and Gal, Language Ideology and Linguistic Differentiation); pp. 85-138 (Silverstein, Whorfianism and the linguistic imagination of nationality); pp. 205-228 (Errington, Indonesian(‘s) Authority)
Schieffelin pp. 68-86 (Hill’s chapter, “Today There is No Respect”: Nostalgia, ‘Respect,’ and Oppositional Discourse in Mexicano (Nahuatl) Language Ideology)

Week 14 4/25 Folkloristics and Anthropological Critiques of Modernism

Paper 5 due (on readings for Weeks 12-14)
Hanks ch 12, Meaning in History 268-306
Voices: Introduction (1-18), Chapter 2, Making language and making it safe for science and society: From Francis Bacon to John Locke (19-69), Chapter 3, Creating Modernity’s Others in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century England: Antiquarian and Philological Reflections (70-127)

Week 15 5/2                           Presentations

Week 16 5/9                           PAPERS DUE

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Methods of Assessment
1) The six papers will receive percentage grades.
2) Participation is graded cumulatively based on the quality of comments in class.
3) Attendance is also part of the participation grade; students are expected to attend.
4) The final presentation and paper will be graded on a percentage basis.

Timeline of Assessment

Students will receive grades for the 9 short papers one week after they are handed in. Grades for presentations will be emailed the next day. Final paper grades will be available in my office on the day grades are posted on Louie.

Grading System

            Grades will be assigned for participation and writing on a 100 point total:

1) Participation

30 points



Grading Scale:

2) Assignments

30 points



90+ =A

3) Research

40 points



80+ =B





70+ =C







Course policy

Attendance is required. Missing two seminars will result in 10% lowering of the participation grade. Missing three will result in 20% off. To be more specific, you are required to attend each class having read the assigned readings and being ready to discuss them. Your grade will reflect your participation and you cannot participate in seminar if you are not present. Remember, the quality of any seminar depends mostly on how well participants prepare prior to coming to class. This involves not only reading the assigned materials but also thinking critically about the issues that they raise. Attend every week; the seminar format requires it. If you anticipate that you must be away, please notify me in advance for the sake of the smooth functioning of the seminar.

Plagiarism is a serious offense. Papers with substantial plagiarized portions—uncited use of others’ work—will receive an F.

Leading discussions
1. Each class session will consist of a group discussion based on a collection of readings. You are required to attend each class having read the assigned readings and being ready to discuss them. Take separate notes on the readings and bring notes and readings with you to class.
2. You will be responsible for co-facilitating some of the class discussions. Each required reading will be assigned to at least one student who will be expected to lead the discussion on it. In preparing for the discussions you will facilitate, write a one-sentence précis of the argument, cutting out everything but what the author is trying to persuade us to see, believe, do, etc. Keep in mind that we are discussing several readings relating to a theme; so look for common or contrasting threads that run through each week’s readings, common questions that those readings address as a unit. Formulate 2-3 questions on “your” reading that help us see the contrasting approaches of the authors to a similar phenomenon. Never ask questions whose answers must be looked up on a particular page or for definitions of a term unique to one page of one source. Instead, let your questions point us to concepts popping up in more than one source (treated differently), concepts that will nearly always be central to or memorable in the arguments the authors make.

Remember, the quality of any seminar depends mostly on how well participants prepare prior to coming to class. This involves not only reading the assigned materials but also thinking critically about the issues that they raise. You are expected to attend—and be on time—every week; the seminar format requires it. If you anticipate being away, please notify me in advance for the sake of the smooth functioning of the seminar.

Writing Critical/Integration Papers

            Your biweekly papers and your final papers should be in AAA format. Note that the “bibliographic citations” in this syllabus are NOT (in order to save space). ). The final paper will require a bib. in AAA format, but you should not waste paper on a bib. for the biweekly response papers unless you cite sources not assigned in class. The Hopper reading (Week 5) is an example of AAA format, as is Wilce in Week 7. Here is AAA in-text citation format— (Einstein 1948: 223). Note, never punctuate between author and date, and never insert p. or pp. before pages cited. Similarly, never insert editor’s names in citations. Save all such info for your References Cited.
These 3-4 page critiques will be your way of integrating and responding to the readings. Since the aim of these papers is to help you integrate and think critically about the readings as a whole, never!!! write “one paragraph per reading” as an method of organizing the paper. Rather, integrate—form paragraphs according to topics you perceive cutting across the readings. Sometimes it will be appropriate in your papers to cumulatively draw on the various perspectives of authors you read over the course of the semester. You should prepare for this paper (and for the seminar) by writing a one-sentence précis of each author’s argument (so, e.g., four précis sentences for four authors) and then finding themes that crosscut. Your papers should touch on the main contribution of each reading to our understanding of the week’s (or semester’s) theme, not on supporting points (subarguments or data). Find differences between authors and take sides, arguing that one perspective is more logical and/or better supported (with evidence) than another. Again, organize each paragraph of every paper by a theme, not by an author. I am looking for evidence that you have gone beyond parroting to be able to compare and contrast perspectives. Write concisely. Do not quote at all. Obviously you need to accurately represent the gist of each author, and to do so you might need to cite a page # for a specific idea. In fact, whenever you get a particular idea from a particular author, try to nail down the page where that idea is best represented and cite it in anthropological citation style (author’s last name date: page) e.g. (Einstein 1941: 243).



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