How can language be used to empower people? How can it take power away? Language can shape reality, change the world, for better or for worse. The goal of this course is to consider the nature of language and its power, and the grave dangers that emerge when language comes under state control. We will primarily examine George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 to understand questions such as: can language be controlled, and what happens when we try?
- George Orwell, 1984, “Appendix on Newspeak” and selections
- George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
- Mark Dunn, Ella Minnow Pea
- Declaration of Independence
- Henry VIII, Treasons Act of 1534
- J.L Austin, How to do Things with Words, selections
- Dan Klein, “Rinkonomics: A Window on Spontaneous Order”
- EconTalk, “John McWhorter on the Evolution of Language and Words on the Move” (podcast) and “Paper TOWELS or PAPER Towels” (educational supplement to podcast)
- Steve Horwitz, “Spontaneous Order in Adam Smith”
Meet the Instructor
Sarah Skwire is a Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation and the co-author of the college writing textbook, Writing with a Thesis, which is in its 12th edition. Sarah has published a range of academic articles on subjects from Shakespeare to zombies and the broken window fallacy, and her work has appeared in journals as varied as Religions, Literature and Medicine, The George Herbert Journal, and The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. She has written frequently for FEE, the Fraser Institute, Bleeding Heart Libertarians, and other print and digital outlets. Sarah’s work on literature and economics has also appeared in Newsweek, The Freeman, and in Cato Unbound, and she is an occasional lecturer for IHS, SFL, and other organizations. She has been featured on podcasts such as Economic Rockstars and Imaginary Worlds. Her poetry has appeared, among other places, in Standpoint, The New Criterion, and The Vocabula Review. She graduated with honors in English from Wesleyan University, and earned an MA and PhD in English from the University of Chicago.
Kate Havard Rozansky