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Language and Ideology Syllabus

ENG 372: Language and Ideology, Fall 2018

Instructor: Morgan Read-Davidson

Meeting Time: T/Th 8:30-9:45a

Meeting Place: Wilkinson Hall 221

Instructor’s Email:

Office: DeMille Hall 133

Phone: 714-532-7706 (email is better)

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 9-12p, or by appointment

*I highly recommend making an appointment ahead of time, even if it’s only 10 minutes ahead. That ensures that I’m not getting coffee, visiting the library, sitting out on the plaza, etc.*

Catalog Description

A detailed examination of political rhetoric, how groups (in many different configurations) of people are persuaded to accept, support and even defend specific ideological formulations. Students will explore notions of “ideological literacy,” “hegemonic discourse” and “the political unconscious” as they relate to social movements, grand narratives and material existence. (Offered every year.) 3 credits.

Course Objectives

This course fulfills the learning outcome of the Social Inquiry component of the General Education program (GE 7SI).

Supported Social Inquiry learning outcome (GE 7SI)

  • Provides students an opportunity to explore processes by which human beings develop social and/or historical perspectives.

Supported BA in English learning outcomes

  • Students will develop their skill in crafting a compelling thesis-driven essay, with substantiating evidence.
  • Students will develop their skill in finding, analyzing, and utilizing secondary sources (including appropriate methods of citation).
  • Students will develop their skill in writing grammatically, coherently, and persuasively.
  • Students will develop their ability to identify and compare key literary movements and genres.
  • Students will develop their ability to explain and apply significant theoretical and critical approaches in the field of English studies.

Course-specific learning outcomes

Students will

  • Understand the nature and function of ideology in human social organization and demonstrate this understanding in academic discourse
  • Write persuasively about selected social movements as defining world views
  • Analyze public discourse in terms of rhetorical effectiveness and communicate that analysis effectively
  • Present historical research to demonstrate theoretical claims
  • Apply rhetorical principles to the development of social understandings
  • Examine current global political discourse for ideological assumptions

Course Format

This class will focus on studying theories in linguistics, semiotics, discourse, and ideology, and then using those theories as frameworks to examine the world around us. Because the material can be difficult to grasp without intertextual contexts (and years of studying those texts), we will need to pool our collective knowledge and studying skills. For this reason, students will be placed in research groups for each of the three units of the course, rotating group membership at the beginning of each unit. Research groups will share notes and sources, participate in online discussion forums to examine and understand the theoretical concepts in the contexts of the research focus, and constructively critique group member’s individual projects.

The following categories spell out how the course will work:

Required Texts

Technology Requirements

Areas of Evaluation

Classroom Environment

University Policies and Procedures

Click the link above to access university policies on Academic Integrity, Students with Disabilities, and Equity and Diversity.

Course Calendar

Click the link above to access the calendar of classes and readings.