Language, Communication and Power

Organizational unit: International Office
Course type: Online seminar

If I’m being honest and tell you it’s raining outside, then if you are inclined to find me reliable, you’ll come to believe that it’s raining outside, and plan your behavior accordingly. This is a paradigm case of communication – simple, literal, and coop-erative. While such exchanges characterize much of our communicative lives, you don’t have to think too hard to find examples of communication and language use that aren’t like this – literal and cooperative. In addition, language is often used to mislead, to control, to silence conversational participants, to demean, to propagate “dog-whistles”, and to perpetuate stereotypes. In this class, we will aim to investi-gate and analyze what is happening in these other kinds of communicative ex-changes. The course will introduce students to some of the theoretical tools of lin-guistics (specifically, linguistic pragmatics) and the philosophy of language to analyze these kinds of non-cooperative communication — to determine how they work, what purposes they serve, and how they are effective. Specific topics will include propaganda, slurs, dog-whistles, silencing, and others besides.


– Every Friday
29. October 2021  11 February 2022
11:45 AM till 13:15 PM

Format: Digital

Form of examination: Written and Verbal

Language: English

Course coordinators: Stefanie Schmutz, Daniel Skibra

Student Level: Bachelor, Master

Number of Places: 5

Number of ECTS: 4 or 6

Prerequisites and registration procedures (i.e. language, fee, registration dates)

– no prerequisites

Duration, Application Deadline and How to apply


Application deadline: 28/10/2021

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