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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3294 The Politics of Language

20 creditsClass Size: 33

School of English

Module manager: Dr Kate Spowage

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module must have passed an introduction to language study in the School of English or another department (such modules include ‘English Structure and Style’, ‘Analysing English’, ‘English: Context, Culture & Style’, a Level 1 module in Linguistics and Phonetics, or similar modules in other departments in Modern Languages.) If you do not meet this requirement, but do have a Grade A in English Language A-level, and you wish to take this module, you must consult the module tutor, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet the pre-requisite requirements.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will introduce students to major thinkers on the politics of language in the twentieth century and will consider critical, theoretical and cultural texts. The aim will be to cover a wide range of debates about the role of language in history in relation to a variety of social and cultural topics. These will include the ways in which language is used to include and exclude; the relation between language and forms of identity; the social stratification of language; language in a colonial and post-colonial world; language and education; linguistic creativity (individual and social).


The aim of this module is to introduce students to a number of twentieth-century ways of conceiving of the politics of language (broadly construed as the relations between language, history and culture). We will consider the work of linguists, literary artists, philosophers, political thinkers and educationalists in a range of reading that will include both theoretical essays and cultural texts.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
- the ability to write clearly and to engage in disscussion in an articulate manner
- the capacity to think analytically and critically
- the ability to make a reasoned argument
- the capacity to form independent judgement
- research skills, including the retrieval, organisation, and evaluation of materials
- efficient time management skills


This module will consider the work of a number of modern writers and thinkers in order to introduce students to a variety of twentieth-century ways of conceiving of the politics of language (broadly construed as the relations between language, history and culture). The topics covered may include: the role of language in history and in the transmission of culture; language as a site of social struggle and political conflict; language, power and the politics of discourse; language in relation to social class, ethnicity and gender; feminism and language; language, colonialism and postcolonialism; language in education; language and creativity. The goal of the course will be to encourage critical reflexivity with regard to language use and policy and to provide an opportunity for independent research in this area.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours190.00
Total Contact hours10.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading, seminar preparation, preparation of assessed work.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Attendance at seminars
- Feedback on assessed essay

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Essay2,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:24:14


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