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Language and Power

Learn how language impacts our worldview with these featured Fall 2020 courses.

ENGL280: The English Language (Linda Coleman)

“Diversity and Change”
ENGL 280 introduces students to the history and structure of the English language.

Questions we will ask include: Where do words come from? Is there such a thing as “correct grammar”? Why are there different dialects (national, regional, local, social)? What is the “standard dialect” and when should you absolutely not use it? Why doesn’t English spelling make sense? How do changes in language and culture affect literature? What is slang and how does it work? How have changes in technology affected English? How does English reflect the diversity of people who use it, and how long has this been going on? How do people change and adjust the language to affect their identity? What are the ramifications of English as a world language and as a medium for international communication in science, politics, and popular culture?

This course satisfies the Distributive Studies Humanities (DSHU) requirement for General Education.

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ENGL291: Writing, Revising, Persuading (Joseph Good)

An opportunity to become a better communicator, a more engaged citizen, and a more capable writer. Students will learn to construct (and de-struct) effective written arguments, including advanced tenets of writing style and how to adapt their style, format, and argument based on audience and genre. This course involves academic writing, but also recognizes the importance of professional and social communications.

Students will consider the place of visuals, data, creative writing, and casual writing formats. Students will enjoy the freedom, and the responsibility, of developing their own writing projects. In all, students will challenge themselves while growing together as a group, able to produce superior academic essays, erudite reports, and incisive social media content.  This course satisfies the Distributive Studies Humanities (DSHU) or the Distributive Studies Scholarship in Practice (DSSP) requirement for General Education.

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ENGL378Z: Women and Memory in Material and Digital Worlds (Jessica Enoch)

This course focuses on how the U.S. is remembering the 100-year anniversary of its 19th Amendment—women’s right to vote—ratified in 1920. We will explore commemorative projects dedicated to the suffrage anniversary by considering such questions as which suffragists are remembered and why? How are commemorative projects engaging the exclusivity and diversity of the suffrage movement? And, in what ways are commemorative projects connecting the suffrage anniversary to the 2020 presidential election, present-day feminist and electoral politics, and voting rights?

We will study a range of commemorative genres dedicated to the suffrage movement from YouTube memorializations to monument creations and from plays and musicals to art installations. Interested in these questions and concerns? Enroll in this course!

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ENGL494: Editing and Document Design (Cecilia Shelton)

Editorial work is powerful because of its potential to amplify or to gate-keep. Editors boast a keen eye for detail and deep, systemic knowledge of language use and design principles. But what happens when those skills are coupled with cultural and individual (in)experiences, biases, (il)logics, and value systems? In this course, a close examination of the principles and practices of editing and document design will be framed by a careful and honest reckoning with the relationship between language and power.

Students will consider the impact of their editorial and design work on writers and audiences—particularly those who have been marginalized. We will also consider how professional skills such as editing and design work can be deployed in service of equity and justice work in social and civic contexts.

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See the full list of Fall 2020 courses.