COMM 2400 Discourse, Culture, and Identities
Tajshen Campbell, MA
About the Course:
COMM 2400 examines how aspects of talk (e.g., turn-taking, speech acts, narratives, dialect, and stand indicators) link with identities (e.g., ethnic and racial, age, gender, work-related, and persona). Considers how communication is central to constructing who people are and examines social controversies related to talk and identities. Approved for GT-SS3. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.
Through our communication, we display who we are, and people talk to us based on what is believed to be true for a person of a particular category. This course examines how aspects of talk (e.g. turn-taking, speech acts, narratives, dialect, and more) link with identities (e.g. ethnic and racial, age, gender, work-related, and personal). This class will develop your skills in analyzing communication—increasing your ability to notice, name, and explain what goes on as people talk to and about each other. Based on these skills, we will develop a deeper understanding of how communication can go awry and why, more often than we would like, communicative exchanges can involve tension or conflict. Finally, we will explore controversial issues that involve how language, talk, or interactive practices do or should link to diverse identities, and you will be encouraged to develop informed and thoughtful positions about how to navigate these controversies.
By the end of this course, you will be able to…
- Analyze everyday communication by labeling discourse practices
- Explain how identity is constructed and challenged in communication
- Explain why a particular situation is a communication dilemma and offer a rationale for how you would navigate it to achieve your goals
- Understand the cultural and rhetorical dimensions of interaction.
Tracy, K. & Robles, J. (2013). Everyday talk: Building and reflecting identities (2nd ed). New York: Guilford Press.
(out of 1000 points):
- Quizzes – 200 points: There will be four quizzes administered on Canvas. You can retake each quiz up to 3 times—your highest score will be entered into your gradebook. Quizzes will include material covered in lectures, readings, example videos, and discussion topic – some questions will include material not discussed in lectures. Each quiz is worth 50 points.
- Praxis– 100 points: These essay assignments will provide ongoing opportunities to make connections between course material, classroom experiences, and everyday life. Some essay assignments will come in the form of observations of discourse in advance of class; some essay assignments will prompt reflection on communication dilemmas explored in class. Details of praxis assignments will vary and further details will be provided for each on Canvas. Each assignment is worth 25 points.
- Weekly Engagement– 150 points:
- Discussion: To guide our learning through this course and to help you connect your experiences with course concepts and theories, you will write a series of weekly discussion posts. These discussions are intended to gauge your understanding of the material and demonstrate your ability to connect concepts across lectures, readings, and personal experiences. Posts will be evaluated on your ability to provide new or unique insight on the reading/topic in question. Each discussion post is worth 10 points.
- Response: Following the weekly discussions posts, there will have weekly responses. For these assignments, you will read through 3-5 other students’ posts and continue the discussion. These posts are intended to gauge how well you can develop and respond to new ideas. Posts will be evaluated by your ability to take the other posts as inspiration and contribute to the ongoing discussion, offering new or unique ideas. Each response is worth 5 points.
- Throughout the semester we will have 12 total opportunities for weekly engagement, however, only 10 weekly submissions (discussion + response) will be counted toward your final grade – the two lowest grades in each category will be dropped. These dropped grades act as the ‘excused absences’ you would be allotted in a traditional in-person class.
- Exams – 250 points: There will be a midterm exam (100) and a final exam (150), administered on Canvas. The exams will contain multiple-choice questions, matching, T/F questions, and fill in the blank, and short answer. Test questions require an understanding of terms and concepts, and will assess your ability to analyze discourse in the ways we will be practicing in class. The exams will include material covered in lectures, readings, example videos, and discussion topic – some questions will include material not discussed in lectures.
- Email Analysis Paper – 100 points: This assignment will introduce you to making analytical arguments using discourse analytic terms and approaches. You will select an email exchange that you have been part of and make an argument about how the participants in this exchange handle a potential face threat. Strong papers will discuss specific discourse features from the email and employ course concepts to make an interpretive argument. The paper will be 3-4 pages.
- Interaction Analysis Project– 200 points: A main goal of the course is to develop your ability to observe and analyze everyday communication. For this interaction analysis paper, you will listen to an audio recorded interaction and develop an interpretive argument about the identities and communication dilemmas the communicators face. This paper will be 5-7pages.