New Course in American Indian Studies – A Linguistic Approach to Culture: American Indian Language Ideologies

AIS 475 C
A Linguistic Approach to Culture: American Indian Language Ideologies
Instructor: Chad Uran
MW 12:30 – 2:20 PM

American Indian languages have attained symbolic and practical predominance in the renewal and maintenance of tribal identities. While language revitalization efforts must necessarily focus on the teaching and learning of indigenous languages, for such efforts to succeed they must also account for the attitudes towards both indigenous languages and the dominant language (i.e., English) in historical and contemporary context. This course will present a survey of language ideologies in American Indian communities, with particular attention to matters of ideological consciousness as a necessary part of indigenous language revitalization.This course will take as its core, after some preliminary introduction to language ideologies as a field of study, the recent edited volume by Kroskrity and Field, Native American Language Ideologies: Beliefs, Practices, and Struggles in Indian Country (2009), with additional materials as needed. Each week, the students will focus on one of the case studies within the volume, and participate in individual and group projects designed to elevate consciousness of the place of language ideologies in their everyday lives. Students will be evaluated on weekly reading responses, a midterm exam, and a final paper synthesizing across the readings and lectures to demonstrate their grasp of the importance of language ideologies within a colonial context and its accompanying politics of inequality as expressed through language practices. Students with an interest in a particular language will be allowed to focus on that.


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