Study Load


Activities

Number of hours

Lectures

22

Tutorials

10

Reading / Self-study

100

Assessment: Essay / Report writing

17

Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation)

15

Total:

164

 
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Learning outcomes


Course Learning Outcomes – On completing the course, students will be able to:

1.

Describe and explain a dispute over meaning and usage in the public sphere.

2.

Apply a critical vocabulary to the description of such meaning disputes.

3.

Apply basic research skills and develop an appreciation of the role and status of different kinds of sources (blogs, media reports, discussion forums, historical texts, secondary literature), including referencing and citation conventions.

4.

Analyze and comment critically on the arguments, rhetorical strategies, ideologies used by participants, including media.

5.

Identify their own case study and analyze its origins, development and the underlying issues at stake.

 

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Assessment


Assessment Method

Weighting

In-class quizzes

30

Tutorial participation and tasks

30

Final project (oral presentation + written submission)

40

 

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Course Content and Topics


The major topics for the course are: (1) disputes about the meanings of words and symbols; (2) controversies over the appropriate name or label for a given entity; (3) the origin, conduct and resolution of such disputes; (4) meaning and interpretation in the public sphere; (5) the nature and sociocultural significance of public debates over meaning.

Topics:

  1. General introduction
  2. Key concepts in the study of meaning and usage
  3. The language of class
  4. Language and gender
  5. Language and race
  6. The language of politics
  7. The politics of language
  8. Illegal speech
  9. Language and media

 

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Required and Recommended Reading


Required Reading
To be provided on Moodle

Recommended Reading
Cram, Ian (2006) Contested Words: Legal Restrictions on Freedom of Speech in Liberal Democracies. Routledge.
Durant, Alan (2010) Meaning in the Media: Discourse, Controversy and Debate. Cambridge UP. (chapters 1 & 2)
Hutton, Christopher (2014) Word Meaning and Legal Interpretation. Palgrave (chapter 1) Johnson, Sally and Astrid Ensellin (2007) (eds) Language in the Media. Continuum.
Tarrow, Sidney (2013) The Language of Contention: Revolutions in Words, 1688-2012. Cambridge UP (chapters 1 and 5)

 

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Last updated: 17 July 2017