Classes

Opening Everyday Interaction

Semester: 

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How many people have you greeted today, even just in passing? Over the course of your lifetime, or even over the past few days, how many times have you introduced yourself to someone new? And how many times have you arrived to some social scene where already-present others were engaged in some activity and you had to find a way ‘in’ to what they were doing? These phenomena are so deeply part of the background of our daily social lives that special effort is required to notice them. In this class, you will learn to perceive these incredibly familiar everyday...

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Conversation Analysis

Semester: 

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Humans are social animals. And social interaction in the form of conversation is a uniquely human phenomenon. Ordinary, mundane, basic conversation—the kind characteristic of everyday talk with friends, neighbors, family—is the primordial site of human sociality. Talk is critical to our lives—through the way we choose to talk to each other, we (re-)create, maintain, or erode our social relationships.

Scholars once assumed that everyday conversation was too random and chaotic to permit...

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Analyzing Institutional Interaction

Semester: 

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In this course, you will examine interaction in a range of contemporary institutional settings, including:
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emergency services (police/fire/ambulance work in connection with US 911-calls)
*justice/legal system (jury deliberations, courtroom trials, police-citizen traffic stops)
*health care/medicine (nurse/doctor-patient consultations in primary care)
*family-school encounters (between teachers/truancy officers and...

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Introduction to Language & Social Interaction

Semester: 

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This social science course aims to refine your thinking about a most important and pervasive aspect of everyday human life: social interaction. Many scholars argue that our unique brand of social interaction—including our use of language—is at the root of what makes us human.

Our first focus is on the foundations of human communication. How and why do humans have the capacity for language? What are the evolutionary foundations of human speech? How do words come to have shared meaning so we can understand one another? How do we describe and categorize aspects of the world? How...

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