Language, Power and Belonging in the Middle East and North Africa (LIN4101.01)

Thomas Leddy-Cecere

This course addresses the ways in which language defines and projects power and identity, as well as its role as a societal force with the capacity to embrace or marginalize individuals and entire communities. The course will consider what language is in these contexts as well as public and official conceptions of what it ought to be, and will utilize a combination of primary and secondary sources to introduce relevant theoretical concepts and ground them in real-world, practical examples. The course material will be drawn from the diverse socio-cultural environment of the Middle East and North Africa and will focus largely on events and thought from the nineteenth century forward; the principles explored and conclusions reached, though, will hold relevance above the level of regional specialty and inform understandings of the position and roles of language in human society at large.

Learning Outcomes:
1) Critically evaluate the ways in which language is used by individuals and groups to formulate and perform notions of power, legitimacy and identity.
2) Recognize and articulate the potential of language as an inclusionary and an exclusionary force in world societies.
3) Intentionally approach one’s own positionality with regard to language-based issues as they apply to the MENA region and beyond.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Any LIN coursework, or permission of the instructor. Interested students should contact the instructor, Thomas Leddy-Cecere (
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Cultural Studies and Languages , Fully In-Person , Sociolinguistics
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