Telling Power

Telling Power

This FIG uses academic tools to help you see and understand patterns in your own life and in our larger society that make a real difference in people’s lives. It combines Linguistics 201, Language and Power, with a section of Writing 121, College Composition 1, that is studying closely related problems of language subordination, language in the classroom, and language in politics and media. Coming from distinct perspectives, both classes examine the language myths that our society relies on to maintain the existing power structure. In this FIG, you will be able to explore connections between the different perspectives offered by the tools of social science, in Ling 201, and the critical reasoning tools of the humanities, in WR 121. Each encourages you to develop your own understanding of the relationships between language, society, and power, and then to find ways to share your new knowledge with others in the world around you. On the academic side of our FIG Seminar, we will talk about how to integrate these two different perspectives, and we will support each other in learning how better to speak our own truths.   

At the same time, a FIG is really about more than academic content — our goal is to build a community, a group where we feel safe to say things that might sometimes seem outrageous, where we know that our fellow FIG members have our backs even when we disagree, and where we have people to study with, to hang out with, to discover campus together, and to get off campus to expand your education beyond the classroom. Your mind will flourish best in a situation where your body and spirit are also nurtured. With this in mind, in the past, we have cooked dinner at the professor’s house, eaten with his family, and shared music and stories. We have watched movies together and shared our thoughts and emotions. COVID protocols permitting, we will seek to do that again this fall.  

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

LING 201 Language and Power - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

Introduces a new way of looking at language and the relations between people who speak different languages or the same language differently. Explores the implications of linguistic and anthropological findings about language and society, and looks at the relationship between language variation (such as accents and dialects) and the social power of speakers of these varieties.

WR 121 College Composition I - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

A course in written reasoning that presents writing as a means of exploring, developing, confirming, and communicating ideas. The ideas that students write about develop from their understanding of issues encountered in readings and focused discussions, responding to them in writing to represent them fairly and explore available responses. Essays explore the relationship of thesis to structure and audience. The course has a strong focus on the process of revising with regular work on editing.