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Language, Power and Communication

Senior Assist. Prof. Ralitsa Muharska
Lectures: 30
Seminars: 30
ECTS credits: 6

This course has a twofold aim: to enhance students’ communicative skills while familiarizing them with the ways power works in communication, particularly in relation to gender. The course introduces some major issues of gender-related communicative behaviour, among them: gender stereotypes and/in language, the importance of gender-related factors in non-linguistic communication (e. g. “power dressing”), genderlects – acceptable feminine and masculine modes of speaking and issues of their social status, gender and writing (ecriture feminine). Some basic concepts in discursive theories of power are discussed, with special attention to the intersections of feminist / gender theory and language, particularly the appropriation of power through language, as well as the performative nature of gender. With respect to that nature issues connected with “alternative” genders and discursive communities are also addressed, e. g. the LGBT community, queer theory and the concept of ˜camp’. The course also focuses on such specific communicative power-related strategies as politeness and hate speech. The material used for analysis is textual – both fictional and non-fictional, and visual – from TV commercials, films and video clips, the press and other sources. The approach is student-oriented. Apart from reading the course materials, students are required to do some research on their own on assigned topics and present the results. Grading is based on a mid-term test and a term paper, plus class participation and oral presentations. The course is taught in English.

 
 
 
 
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