Walsh School of Foreign Service

SPAN 396 CBL Span Socioling Race & Nation

Maria Moreno (new window)

Mon/Wed 12:30 pm to 1:45pm

Spanish Sociolinguistics: Race, Nation and Language is a Community-Based Learning (CBL) course conducted in Spanish that focuses on the dynamic interaction between language, power and identity in the Spanish-speaking world. Language, at the intersection of power and identity, is never neutral and is central to our understanding of the concepts of race/ethnicity and nation. Using the lens of critical sociolinguistics and critical discourse studies, we will examine the social construction of Race, Nation and Language through the processes of capitalism, colonialism, racialization, and nation-building. We will study and contrast these processes in different speech communities in Latin America, the USA, Spain, and through the less well- known cases of Spanish-speaking communities in the Philippines and Africa, Judeo-Spanish or Ladino, and creole languages such as Palenquero. In each context, we will pay special attention to the way race/ethnicity, class and gender are used as tools in the unequal distribution of power, status and material goods, and how they are coded into language ideologies, linguistic usages and practices, and language prestige and stigma. We will analyze both the re/production of racism and other oppressive systems of power and the transformation of racial, ethnic, and linguistic phenomena and ideas. The learning goal of critical sociolinguistics is social change for the common good. Topics covered include, among others: social justice and the intersections of language and race, ethnicity, gender, empire, colonialism, and migration; language and identity (individual, group, and national identities); language ideologies and how they shape language and education policies and planning; multi/bilingualism; language contact and language shift; endangered languages and language death. Materials for class discussion are very diverse and include academic articles or chapters, documentary films, legal texts, popular culture products, press articles, internet blogs/vlogs, social networks posts, marketing and advertisements, and more. This 4-credit course has an additional community-engaged learning component, performed outside the classroom, working with organizations that focus on underserved and indigenous communities in Guatemala: Project Olas – a social impact language exchange program with women from Zona 3 in Guatemala City, and Guatemala Solidarity Project – an association of activists fighting for human and Earth rights from indigenous communities in Guatemala and the US. Course readings and other materials will delve into Guatemala as a case study to contextualize students’ community work.