What does it mean to lose or risk losing your language? What is the value of language, to speakers, to experts like anthropologists, to humanity more broadly? This course explores answers to these questions through thinking about language as a cultural practice and object, a political activity and topic, and something that is deeply entwined with speakers’ senses of self. We will consider case studies from the US immigrant experience as well as cases of language endangerment and loss around the globe. To analyze these issues more immediately, you will do a research project about a multilingual community to which they have access. You will collect online and/or offline evidence to tell a story about the ways multilingual practices shape relationships, life trajectories, collective histories, and material and symbolic spaces in a community.

This course website contains copyrighted materials available only for your personal, noncommercial educational and scholarly use. This site is used in accordance with the fair use provision, Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act where allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Every effort has been made to provide attribution of copyrighted content. If you wish to use any copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain expressed permission from the copyright owner. If you are the owner of any copyrighted material that appears on this site and believe the use of any such material does not constitute “fair use”, please contact Professor Mariapaola Gritti to have the content removed, if proven necessary.

This open educational resource / zero-cost textbook (OER/ZTC) course site was created as part of the CUNY and SUNY 2017-19 Open Educational Resources Initiatives. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature awarded CUNY and SUNY $16 million to implement open educational resources to develop, enhance and institutionalize new and ongoing open educational resources across both universities.

Special thanks to the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, the CUNY Office of Library Services, Brooklyn College Administration and Professor Miriam Deutch, Coordinator, Brooklyn College Open Educational Resources Initiative. Site design and formatting by Colin McDonald, OER Developer.