Spring 2020 - SA 368 D100

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

Class Number: 3073

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jie Yang
    1 778 782-4297
    Office: AQ 5056
    Office Hours: We 13:30-14:30, or by appointment
  • 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. 'English-ization,' language death/revitalization, the creation, 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.


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


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology & 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Readings will be available online, through the SFU Library, on Canvas, or via email.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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