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Proposed Schedule

This schedule is tentative; see the discussion of the concept of a research seminar to understand why. It may be modified as the class proceeds.

The initial proposal for a seminar schedule is below. This will change as we go along, hopefully, but it is as well to have something to grapple with as you gradually take more responsibility for the directions of our seminar. The proposed schedule has three sections, as follows:

Part I: Background

Part II: Theories and Analyses

Part III: Conclusion (for student research presentations)






Readings on reserve in the School of Theology Library:

Austin, J. L. How to Do Things with Words.

Ayer, Alfred Jules. Language, Truth, and Logic.

Berger, Peter L. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion.

Berger, Peter L; Luckman, Thomas. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge.

Berlin, Brent; Paul Kay. Basic Color Terms.

Comrie, Bernard. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology: Syntax and Morphology, 2nd ed.

Deacon, Terrence. The Symbolic Species.

Diamond, Malcolm. The Logic of God: Theology and Verification.

Greenberg, Joseph H., ed. Universals of Language, 2nd ed.

Hagoort, Peter. "The Uniquely Human Capacity for Language Communication: From POPE to [po:p] in Half a Second", in Robert J. Russell, ed., Neuroscience and the Person: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action. Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Publications; Berkeley: Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. 1999.

Nichols, Johanna. Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time.

Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct.

Searle, John. Speech Acts.

Shopen, Timothy, ed. Language Typology and Syntactic Description, vol. 1: Clause Structure.

Whorf, Benjamin Lee. Language, Thought, and Reality.

Wierzbicka, Anna. Lingua Mentalis: The Semantics of Natural Language.

Wierzbicka, Anna. Semantics, Culture, and Cognition: Human Concepts in Culture-Specific Configurations.

Other Readings on Language and Human Universals:

Brown, Donald E. Human Universals. Temple University Press. 1991.

Croft, William. Typology and Universals. Cambridge University Press. 1990.

Degler, Carl N. In Search of Human Nature. Oxford University Press. 1991.

Hawkins, John A., ed. Explaining Language Universals. Basil Blackwell. 1988. 



Part I Topic 1: Contributions from Linguistics

What is language and how does it work? The first area of background that we will study is linguistics, which offers competing answers to this question.

Required readings:
Pinker, chs. 1, 2, 4, 8
Shopen, ch. 1 (Parts-of-speech systems)

Recommended readings:
Nichols, chs. 1, 2
Pinker, chs. 5, 6
Shopen, chs. 2, 4

For a helpful introduction to syntax see:
Akmajian, A., et al, Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication, ch. 5



Part I Topic 2: Contributions from Anthropology

Are there cross-culturally universal features of human language? The second area of background that we will study is at the junction of linguistics and anthropology, where data relevant to answering this question is gathered.

Required readings:
Pinker, chs. 3, 7, 13 (semantics and pragmatics)
Whorf, "Science and Linguistics", "Linguistics as an Exact Science", "Languages and Logic". These are three essays published late in Whorf's life in Technology Review. Look for signs of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or Whorf's principle of linguistic relativity, which states that "the structure of a human being's language influences the manner in which he understands reality and behaves with respect to it" (Language, Thought, and Reality, p. 23).
Wierzbicka, Semantics, Culture, and Cognition, intro., ch. 1 (dusa, soul), ch. 2 (sud'ba, fate).

Wierzbica, Lingua Mentalis and the rest of Semantics, Culture, and Cognition
Whorf, more of Language, Thought, and Reality
Berlin and Kay: This is a classic work in the field of semantic universals. Berlin, Kay, and their students tested native-speaking informants from twenty different languages (and drew in comparative written data representing another seventy-eight languages) to determine the focal point and outer boundary of each of the basic color terms. They conclude not only that basic color-term universals exist but that these universals developed in all languages in a remarkably similar manner, suggesting links between language development and the evolution of human physiology.



Part I Topic 3: Contributions from Neuroscience

How is language produced neurologically and what features of the brain must have evolved to allow human beings to become language users? Our third stop on the journey for relevant background information is with neuroscience and particularly neurolinguistics.

Required readings:
Pinker, chs. 9, 10, 11
Hagoort, all
Deacon, all

Recommended readings:
Pinker, ch. 12



Part I Topic 4: Contributions from Sociology of Knowledge

How does language promote and interfere with the social construction of reality and, especially relevant for religion, what Berger calls the “sacred canopy”?

Required readings:
Berger, The Sacred Canopy, Part I (Systematic Elements)
Berger and Luckman, The Social Construction of Reality, Part I (The Foundations of Knowledge in Everyday Life)

Recommended readings:
Berger and Luckman (rest)



Part I Topic 5: Contributions from Philosophy of Language

What was the program of logical positivism? What is speech act theory? What contributions has the philosophy of language made to understanding religious language?

Required readings:
Ayer, chs. 1, 4, 5, 6; Searle, Speech Acts, chs. 1, 2, 3

Recommended readings:
Austin; Diamond, chs. 1 (introduction), 5 (John Wisdom’s “Gods”), 7 (Antony Flew on falsification)






Readings on reserve in the School of Theology Library:

Cameron, Deborah, ed. The Feminist Critique of Language.

Daly, Mary; Caputi, Jane. Webster’s First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language.

Eco, Umberto. Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language.

Fairclough, Norman. Critical Discourse Analysis.

Foucault, Michel. The Archaeology of Knowledge.

Fowler, Roger; Hodge, Bob; Kress, Gunther; Trew, Tony, eds. Language and Control.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method.

Lakoff, George; Mark Johnson. Philosophy in the Flesh.

Lindbeck, George. The Nature of Doctrine.

Mueller-Vollmer, Kurt. The Hermeneutics Reader.

Neville, Robert Cummings. "Contextualization and the Non-Obvious meaning of Religious Symbols."

Neville, Robert Cummings. "Religion in Late Modernity".

Neville, Robert Cummings. The Truth of Broken Symbols.

Ricoeur, Paul. Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning.

Saussure, Ferdinand. Course on General Linguistics.

Searle, John. Expression and Meaning.

Searle, John. Intentionality.

Searle, John. Speech Acts.

Sells, Michael A. Mystical Languages of Unsaying.

Varela, Francisco J., et al. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations.


2/27/2003 Deadline for 1-page précis of research project (9am in class)


Part II, Topic 1: Analytic Philosophy/Ordinary Language 

Required readings:
Searle, Speech Acts, chs. 4, 5
Searle, Expression and Meaning, chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Recommended readings:
Searle, Intentionality, chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6



Part II, Topic 2: Embodied Mind/Metaphor Theory

Required readings:
Lakoff and Johnson, chs. 1-5, 8, 21, 22

Recommended readings:
Lakoff and Johnson (rest)



No Class Meeting; Spring Recess



Part II, Topic 3: Late Wittgensteinian Cultural-Linguistic Approaches

Required readings:
Lindbeck (all)

Recommended readings:



Part II, Topic 4: Semiotic Theory

Required readings:
Neville, The Truth of Broken Symbols, chs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

Recommended readings:
Eco, introduction, chs. 1, 2
Neville, The Truth of Broken Symbols (rest)
Neville, "Contextualization and the Non-Obvious meaning of Religious Symbols."
Neville, "Religion in Late Modernity".
Saussure, introduction, part one (General Principles)



Part II, Topic 5: Hermeneutics                 

Required Readings:
Ricoeur (all)

Recommended Readings:
Gadamer, part II section 2, part III
Mueller-Vollmer, introduction



Part II, Topic 6: Power Analyses (Post-Structuralism, Feminism, Critical Linguistics)                                                

Required Readings:
Foucault, “The Discourse on Language” (from The Archeology of Knowledge)
Cameron, chs. 6, 7
Daly, “preliminary webs” 1-5
Fowler, et al, “Critical Linguistics” (pp. 185-213)
Fairclough, section A

Recommended Readings:
Grace Jantzen, Becoming Divine, ch. 8
Fowler, Literature as Social Discourse
Fowler, Linguistic Criticism
Kramarae et al, Language and Power
Kress et al, Language as Ideology



Part II, Topic 7: Grammatical Analyses    

Required Readings:
Sells (all)

Recommended Readings:






Part III, Week 1: Presentations of Student Research Projects



Part III, Week 2: Presentations of Student Research Projects


5/6/2003 Deadline for research projects (9am in STH 335)

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