Language, Power, Story

Winter 2019
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 48
16 Credits per quarter
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What is the significance of language within a community? How have marginalized peoples’ struggles for survival, autonomy, and identity been affected by language attitudes and policies? In this program we will explore the nature and structure of language and stories, and the ways in which they have been used in dominant and colonial structures. We will identify links between language and culture, examine case studies of language revitalization efforts, and consider the ways in which orality, literacy, and education intersect with cultural transmission and histories. We will use an interdisciplinary lens of Native American studies and linguistics as ways to explore these broad questions.

In addition to considering Northwest cultures and communities, we will study the role of indigenous languages in North American cultures, and in other parts of the world (such as Quechua in South America and Maori in New Zealand). We will examine educational practices, including assimilationist models, and links to immigrant experiences and language. We will use texts, lectures, workshops, seminar discussions, and films to investigate our program themes. We will critically evaluate the role of museums and public history. We will visit a local tribal museum as well as take day trips to other museums.

Through program workshops students will develop a variety of skills, including historical research, linguistic analysis, library research methods, and policy research and writing. We will help students learn to listen and observe attentively, gain awareness of the varieties of language we use and hear in our communities, do close and critical reading with challenging texts, contribute clear and well-developed writing, and acquire research skills in linguistics, history, and Native American studies.



Winter 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20530

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies and careers in

Native American studies, history, and linguistics.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$30 admission fees


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 B1107 - Workshop