Anthropology 409, Indigenous Languages in the Contemporary World
Summer 2014 in Ireland
Instructor: Tok Thompson
Dates: May- June, 2014
Language, more than anything else, defines humanity. Yet consider that the world is now losing languages, even entire language families, at an unprecedented, and accelerating, rate. What are the implications of this, and what are the chances of indigenous and minority languages surviving the ongoing process of globalization?
This course will engage students in examining the politics of language, including linguistic ties to ethnic identity, national identity, state and civic identity, and more. Initial readings and discussions at USC will be augmented by a travel component for intensive fieldwork on these issues in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Students will examine the varied role that the Irish (Gaelic) language plays in different parts of this island, including Dublin—an overwhelmingly English-speaking capital city of Ireland with a conflicted connection to the Irish language; Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland; where the Irish language is often meshed with larger political struggles; and in the Gaeltacht of Donegal, where Irish is still spoken as an everyday language. From their hands-on field research, students will learn how academic knowledge of languages both stems from everyday life, and also influences it, as they examine a critical case study in revitalization movements of indigenous and minority languages.
Miscellaneous (food and local travel) $650
For more information on this course, please contact Professor Tok Thompson at email@example.com.