HC431H - Language, Politics, and Human Rights

Professor: Justin Spence

4.00 credits

  • CRN 25204: Tuesday & Thursday, 4:00-5:20pm @ CHA 202

    Languages are a means of communication, but they are also inherently social, one of the myriad ways people have at their disposal to index group membership and belonging. They are therefore also bound to questions of politics and identity such that they become points of conflict in a given society, and asymmetric support for some languages or dialects at the expense of others can become an instrument of political oppression and resistance thereto. This course offers a global perspective on these issues, framed in terms of Linguistic Human Rights as enshrined in documents such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Topics covered will include the establishment and enforcement of standard languages, the status of Indigenous and minority languages in contemporary nation-states, linguistic chauvinism and discrimination, “English-only” movements in the United States, and language policy in legal, medical, and educational settings.