Fall 2017 - SA 368 E100

Language, Ideology, and Power (A) (4)

Class Number: 2584

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 5 – Dec 4, 2017: Tue, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101, 201W, or 150.



Examines how language shapes and is shaped by culture, power, and social relations and introduces the major concepts, approaches, and theories used by anthropologists in the investigation of relations between language and cultural forms.


Is "eh" a mere interjection? Does it mean more? Does language have value? Is language political? Do you want to know more about linguistic anthropology?

This course acquaints students with major approaches and theories used by anthropologists in the investigation of relationships among language, ideology and power.  It examines the way language is used as a tool and resource for governmentality, for creating hierarchy and social organization and for producing different conception of rights and justice. The course explores basic approaches to linguistic anthropology (i.e., ethnography of communication, conversation analysis, narrative analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, critical discourse analysis) and their critiques.

This section pays particular attention to critical discourse analysis (CDA) and provides an overview of major approaches to CDA and their contributions to theorizing language in relation to power, ideology, identity, institutions, social values, etc.  Another section of the course investigates major topics in linguistic anthropology—language’s relation to ideology and social differentiation (class, gender, race/ethnicity). This section emphasizes the way globalization impacts language use and discursive practices (i.e., Englishization, language death and revitalization, the circulation and consumption of discourse with the processes of globalization, etc.). It also examines the role of media and technology in contemporary linguistic practices.

Through lectures, discussions and hands-on ethnographic projects, students will become familiar with key issues, themes, and theories about language in contemporary anthropological scholarship and social sciences in general.


  • Mid-term quiz 10%
  • Group peer-review exercise (essay abstract and outline) 5%
  • Final essay 45%
  • Final test 20%
  • Discussion leadership and participation 20%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned a N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy:
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Some of the readings in the syllabus are available as electronic resources through the Simon Fraser University library (URL to be posted). Other readings are available as PDF files on the website or email attachments sent by the instructor.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html