SPE 386P: 
Language, Culture, and Communication


  1. Description
  2. Instructor
  3. Required readings
  4. Requirements
  5. Grading policy
  6. Ethical standards
  7. Additional information


Unique number: 06065.
Days: Mondays.
Time: 3:00-6:00.

Goals:This course is designed so that students will study some key theoretical texts in language, culture, and communication. Particular attention is paid to exploring the relation between theories of language and theories of social interaction.

Table of contents


Name: Madeline M. Maxwell, Ph.D.
Office: CMA 7.120. Jesse H. Jones Communication Center
Office hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00-3:00, Thursdays 1:30 - 3:30, and by appointment. E-mail seems to work well for messages and arranging appointments. Or leave a message on the bulletin board on my office door, on my telephone voice mail or in my department mailbox in CMA 7.114 and I will call you back. Please come by and see me often during the semester
Phone & voice mail: 471 1954.

Table of contents

Required reading

Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a theory of practice. 1977.
Jerome Bruner, Acts of meaning. 1990.
Kenneth Gergen, The Saturated Self. 1992.
Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis. 1986.
William Hanks, Language and communicative practices. 1996.
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors we live by. 1983.

Other articles and chapters will be assigned, according to student interests. And there will be a number of websites associated with the different authors. Check back here for the links:

Metaphor in Scientific Thinking
Center for the Cognitive Science of Metaphor Online
George Lakoff, Metaphor and War

February 28:
Kenneth Gergen, The Saturated Self
George Herbert Mead, The problem of societies: how we become selves

March 3:
George Herbert Mead,  The Genesis of the Self and Social Control
                                        The Mechanism of Social Consciousness
The Bakhtin Circle

March 27:
John Gumperz, Language and the communication of social identity
Erving Goffman, Presentation of Self in Everyday life excerpts:
pp. 208-212
pp. 22-30, 70-76

Some ideas about Activity Theory
What is Activity Theory?
Activity Theory - An Introduction
Activity Theory and Cultural Psychology

April 24:
Dell Hymes, The ethnography of speaking

Table of contents


Table of contents

Grading policy

An "A" is awarded to outstanding, unusually fine work. Outstanding work means that the student not only masters the material, knows the details of assigned reading and of class presentations, but goes beyond the bounds of memorization to integrate, apply, critique and reflect on the facts and ideas presented. A grade of "B" is awarded to above average, strong work that reveals these same qualities but is perhaps less consistent or less thorough.. A "C" is awarded to work that meets the requirements, with some ambiguity about its adequacy. A "D" is awarded to work that is sub-standard but has some merit. An "F" is awarded when work is not completed and when work is inadequate. The University of Texas at Austin is one of the outstanding universities in the country. Students succeeding at UT should expect to stretch themselves to achieve at the standard expected of a great university.

Table of contents

Ethical Standards

Students at the University of Texas at Austin are expected to demonstrate the highest ethical standards about their intellectual work and their scholarly participation. Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. All students are expected to have read and understood the current issue of General Information Catalog, published by the Registrar's Office, for information about procedures and about what constitutes scholastic dishonesty.

Table of contents

Additional Information

Table of contents

Spring 2000 

[Home| General| Teaching| World
24 December  2000
The College of Communication
The Department of Speech Communication
University of Texas at Austin
Most images are postcards from Travel Texas Tours.
Send comments or inquiries to Madeline Maxwell