New undergraduate course offering from Cog Sci: COGS Language and Racism
We invite you to register for “COGS 2345, Language and Racism”, Tuesdays & Thursdays from 12:30-1:45pm, co-sponsored by the Cognitive Science Program and co-taught by Dr. Letty Naigles and Dr. Bede Agocha. This course examines the relationships between language use, both historically and across the lifespan, and the social construction of race, racism, and racial identity, with particular emphasis on racial politics in the United States.
Prerequisites: Open to sophomores or higher. Recommended preparation: One course in AFRA or COGS.
Course overview: LANGUAGE plays an immense, though often underrated role in nearly every domain of students’ lives, including where they live, who they love, what they learn, and whether and how they get and keep a job. Relatedly, then, language can also prevent all of the above. Language is a vehicle of racism because the language used by those in the majority or in power is artfully constructed to categorize people according to race and to place groups in deeply hierarchical relationships to one another.
Our course on Language and Racism deploys tools of the cognitive and psychological sciences to both illuminate and illustrate potential interventions for language racism.
- We examine the linguistics and sociolinguistics of the language(s) used by Black communities in the U.S., including their origins, creolization, complex linguistic structure, and issues of stigma versus pride.
- We examine the language of racism, including the types of discourse that construct Whiteness as dominant over Color, the processes of language standardization, and the ideologies of language and their interaction with group identity at both the local and national community levels.
- We consider antiracism interventions that are language-based.
- The course is project-based, with students learning to understand how language is used in their various social contexts as well as in contexts they can access via stored content. Students will learn to analyze their own and others’, famous and commonplace, racist and antiracist linguistic output/texts, using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) computational tool, which analyzes texts as manifesting properties such as anger, authority, in-group, out-group, and fairness.