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Department of Anthropology

Linguistic Anthropology

Spring 2021


ANTH 271.001 / Language and Popular culture

MW / 2:20 – 3:35 / 100% Web – Synchronous

Professor: Sherina Feliciano-Santos

(3 credits)  

Cross-listed with LING 241 

Fulfills the Linguistic Requirement for the Anthropology Major 

Course Readings:

Please go to the USC Bookstore to find what books you will need for this course: 

Course Description:

This course will study linguistic anthropology through the lens of popular culture, while learning about different levels of linguistic form and discourse structure. We will explore the ethnography of communication through play and performance, discursive and semiotic practices (stylization, mocking, code switching, crossing, entextualization, etc.), and varieties of language invoked in popular cultural forms that provide resources for cultural reproduction and contestation.

  ANTH 391.001 / Special Topics: Language and the Internet

TR / 10:05 – 11:20 / Face-to-Face Lecture in Humanities Classroom Bldg 215 (HUMCB)

Professor: John McCullough

(3 credits) 

Fulfills the Linguistic Requirement for the Anthropology Major 

Cross-listed with LING 305.001 

Course Readings:

  1. Friedrich, P., & de Figueiredo, E. H. D. (2016). The sociolinguistics of digital Englishes. Routledge.
  2. McCulloch, G. (2019). Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. Riverhead Books.
  3. Blackboard, where additional readings, homework assignments, extra materials will be posted. 

Course Description:

The interface between the internet and the linguistic user is perpetually shifting, and the interweaving of online and offline identities through user-generated content, or New Media exemplifies this. This course will analyze how humans continue to adapt within the realm of “Web 2.0” as we become an increasingly “always-online” culture. Digital environments facilitating social media and content such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Instagram and Reddit provide ample evidence for study of interactional phenomena. Students will be able to apply frameworks from fields such as sociolinguistics, computer-mediated communication, and digital anthropology to analyze the role of language online to negotiate identity, power, and ideology through creation, reproduction, and contestation of texts and media. Although the course will include research involving other languages, we will be focusing on the ways in which users of varieties of Englishhave effects on, and are affected by, language change in the internet landscape. 


Students must have passed ENGL 102, as they will be asked to evaluate rhetoric, and to write academic papers of university quality. An interest and/or knowledge in topics such as linguistics, virtual worlds, and technological prowess are encouraged but not required. 

Learning Outcomes:

Through engagement with literature, lecture, and class material, by the end of this course:

  • Students will evaluate debates in society about the effects technology on changing language habits, for better or worse
  • Each student will apply language and linguistic analysis effectively to understand identity construction, stance, online communities, and how texts circulate and interact
  • Students will analyze what it means to be intelligent consumers of computer-mediated discourse, examining the target audience, epistemological and affective stance, and communication strategies of other users in environments outside of their typical digital “range”
  • Students will understand how language changes in general, and appreciate ongoing language changes and efforts to inhibit change, especially in the case of stigmatized and marginalized varieties
  • Students will understand the diversity of language varieties, their strategic use, contextual appropriateness and indexical values (connotations, judgments, meaning-making).
  • Students will evaluate the consequences that use of New Media has for their own culture and the patterns of human social interaction in general (e.g. “twitter” revolutions, hypernarrative, conceptions of autobiography, anonymity, authenticity, and authority)
  • Students will create independent research, utilizing basic skills of digital ethnography and sociolinguistic study, including collecting video, audio, and textual data with tools such as “rippers” and “scrapers.” 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.