FREN556A

Race, Ethnicity and Language

Instructor: Marie-Eve Bouchard
Language of instruction: English

This course is based on the fundamental idea that discourse practices are an important indicator of wider social and cultural structures. Language has a key role to play in the racial and ethnic boundary-making processes, as it is a vehicle for the ideologies that get attached to racialized and ethnicized subjects. It is through language that racial and ethnic ideologies are produced and reproduced, perpetuated and resisted.

This course takes interest in the construction and maintenance of racial and ethnic boundaries through the use of language. This course is built around two main questions:

  1. If race and ethnicity are ways of categorizing identity (rather than being inherited essences of identity), then how and why are race and ethnicity so powerful in shaping social life and experience?
  2. If race, ethnicity, and language are social constructs, how can we (as citizens, students, and scholars) represent and discuss these concepts without reifying them?

We will read a range of ethnographies and articles that seek to overcome these dilemmas.


Recommended readings: Most readings will be available on Canvas.