Field Description

In the ISF Research Field on Language, Culture and Identity, students make language itself an object of analysis through an interdisciplinary course of study combining the Social Sciences and Humanities. Courses can be found in Anthropology, Education, Ethnic Studies, Linguistics, Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Sociology.  The interdisciplinary study of language treats language as more than a tool of communication. Languages as patterned discourses are cultural products that change over time and that are conditioned (and confounded) by power and difference. In this research field, students study a variety of discourses from different historical moments and sociological contexts to ask a series of questions about language and identity. In this way, students explore the metaphoric nature of language while learning about cognitive processes, the nature of meaning, the controversy over linguistic relativity, the politics of language use, the dynamics of politeness and civility norms, and the tensions between language as a tool for authority, as an expression of resistance, and an ideal communicative practice.