LING-4444 Discourse, Identity & Narratives

Course Description

The study of identity is at the core of many disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, however there is a special link that connects language and discourse to identities. Not only does the way people speak reveal a lot about who they are, but it also predominantly through discourse and communication that individuals and communities convey and negotiate their sense of self. Among discourse genres, narrative has a privileged role in constructing and conveying identities and constitutes one of the main arenas in which such processes are negotiated. This course aims at reflecting on and learning about these connections between discourse and identity, with a particular focus on narrative and storytelling. Topics that will be covered include the various kinds and levels of identities that have been the object of study of discourse, the different approaches that have emerged in discourse studies with regards to the analysis of identities, the particular tools that have been developed to this end in narrative studies and some of the debates that have taken place around these themes. Students will collect and analyze different kinds of narratives in a variety of formats and contexts (including oral and written narratives, social media and other digital contexts) and the ways in which they are used to construct individual or collective identities such as institutional and political ones. The course presupposes some previous exposure to discourse studies and/or narrative studies so students who have had that exposure will be particularly well equipped to take it. The course is taught in English.