COMM 2400 Discourse, Culture, and Identities


Claire Chase

Email:  Claire.Chase@Colorado.EDU


Through our communication, sometimes consciously, often unconsciously, we display who we are (male or female, old or young, American or Japanese, African-, Anglo-, Hispanic-, or Native-American, a student, a teacher, an attorney, a friend, an acquaintance, skeptical, rude, sleazy, caring and so on). It is also the case that we talk to people (and people talk to us) on the basis of what is believed to be true for a person of a particular category. The purpose of this course is to examine how communication and social or personal identities get linked. In particular we will explore the following issues: How, and to what degree, do people of different ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders, and occupations talk differently? How does the way a person talks construct who he or she is? What kinds of beliefs and attitudes do people of one social category have of another? How do discursive practices reveal the beliefs people have about each other? What kinds of misunderstandings and problems typically arise?

These are issues that all of us must deal with in our everyday lives. Most of the time — unless there is some breakdown, misunderstanding, or crisis — we go about our business as social beings without paying much explicit attention to our identities as constructed through talk, or the use of language that distinguishes groups of people. This course is about paying attention to those differences: appreciating different ways of looking at and talking about the world, understanding why things sometimes go wrong, and being aware of the value judgments we and others sometimes make about ways of using talk.


 Everyday Talk: Building and Reflecting Identities, 2nd Edition (Authors: Karen Tracy and Jessica S. Robles, 2012, Guilford Press).

Among US: Essays on Identity, Belonging and Intercultural Competence, (Edited by Myron Lusting and Jolene Koester, 2000, Addison Wesley Longman).


1-2 Page Assignments (7) 140 Points (20 each)
Transcript of 2 minute talk 20 Points
Longer Analysis Paper (2) 100 Points (50 each)
Final Exam 140 Points

The final exam includes objective and short essay questions. When you are ready to complete the final examination, you will find it along with a practice final in the quizzes area of D2L (under assessments). Note that you should complete all coursework prior to taking the final.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado