Leeds University Library

Reading List The Politics of Language (Engl3294)

The Politics of Language, 2017/18, Semester 2
Professor Tony Crowley
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

The Politics of Language (ENGL3294)

Semester 2 (2017-18)

Professor Tony Crowley (t.crowley@leeds.ac.uk)

Course description. This module will introduce students to a number of twentieth-century ways of conceiving of the politics of language (broadly construed as the relations between language, history and culture). We will consider the work of linguists, literary artists, philosophers, political thinkers and educationalists in a range of reading that will include both theoretical essays and cultural texts. The topics covered may include: the role of language in history and in the transmission of culture; language as a site of social struggle and political conflict; language, power and the politics of discourse; language in relation to social class, ethnicity and gender; feminism and language; language, colonialism and postcolonialism; language in education; language and creativity. The goals of the course will be to encourage critical reflexivity with regard to language and to provide an opportunity for independent research in this area.

Course reading. The following texts need to be purchased as we will be using them in class:

Burke, Lucy, Tony Crowley and Alan Girvin (eds.), The Routledge language and cultural theory reader ISBN: 0415186811 (pbk.); 0415186803 (hardbound); CIP entry (London: Routledge, 2000). (LCTR).

Atwood, Margaret, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) (London: Vintage, 1996).

Welsh, Irvine, Trainspotting (1993) (London: Vintage: 2013). 

Friel, Brian, Translations (London: Faber, 1981).

Friel, Brian, Making History (London: Faber, 1989).


Texts marked * in the reading below will be available through the VLE.

 Seminar topics.

 Topic one. Introduction: language, history, culture.

            Brian Friel, Translations (1981).

Topic two. Language, culture, identity.

            Brian Friel, Translations (1981).

Topic three. Language, history, truth.

            Brian Friel, Making History (1985)

Topic four. Language, culture, mind.

            Benjamin Lee Whorf, ‘Science and Linguistics’ (LCTR).

            Edward Sapir, ‘The Status of Linguistics as a Science’ (LCTR).

            *George Orwell, ‘The Principles of Newspeak’, Appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

 Topic five. Language, thought and reality.

            Dale Spender, ‘Language and Reality: Who Made the World?’ (LCTR).

            Muriel Schulz, ‘The Semantic Derogation of Woman’ (LCTR).

           *Deborah Cameron, ‘Sexism and Semantics; More on Man Made Language’, Radical philosophy. ISSN: 0300-211x, 36 (Spring 1984).

            Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985).

 Topic six: Language and power.

            V.N.Voloshinov, ‘Multiaccentuality and the Sign’ (LCTR).

           *George Orwell, ‘The Principles of Newspeak’, Appendix to Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

           Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985).

Topic seven. Language and the sexual order

            Judith Butler, ‘From Parody to Politics’ (LCTR).

            Deborah Cameron, ‘The Naming of Parts’ (LCTR).

            Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985).

            Entries from urbandictionary.com.

Topic eight. Language and social class.

            Basil Bernstein, ‘Social Class, Language and Socialisation’ (LCTR).

            William Labov, ‘The Logic of Non-Standard English’ (LCTR).

            Brian Cox, ‘Teaching Standard English’ (LCTR).

            Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting (1993).        

 Topic nine. Linguistic capital and its value.

             Pierre Bourdieu, ‘The Production and Reproduction of Legitimate Language (LCTR).

            *Linguistic Society of American Resolution on the Oakland "Ebonics" Issue

            Irvine Welsh, (1993).

Topic ten. Language, community, colonisation, postcolonialism.

            Karl Vossler, ‘Language Communities’ (LCTR).

            Mikhail Bakhtin, ‘Unitary Language’ (LCTR).

            Braj Kachru, ‘The Alchemy of English’ (LCTR).          

            E.K. Brathwaite, ‘Nation Language’ (LCTR).

            Brian Friel, Translations (1981).


This list was last updated on 09/01/2018