MALAY - Seminar in Malay Letters and Oral Traditions

W 3-5:59P
Tiwon, Sylvia

Various aspects of Indonesian/Malay language and literature, history and development of the language, classical literature, drama, oral literature, modern literature of Indonesia and Malaysia, and dialect studies. Applies various theoretical approaches to the study of the language and literature. 

Topic for Fall 2017 : Language, Lies and the ambiguity of reading.

Language instruction -- and especially advanced language instruction -- is generally conducted on the notion of legibility and a semblance of transparency.   Yet, ambiguity, concealment, imitative malfunction, and even outright dissemblance are all ingredients involved in the discursive act and contribute to the richness of a language. Irony, parody and humor often present some of the greatest obstacles to comprehension: is there a "grammar" of irony (or of parody, sarcasm, even humor) that would help us overcome this obstacle?  

This semester focuses on the act of reading in Indonesian. We will develop a set of methods and tools to help us read, analyze and interpret a variety of texts in Indonesian and/or Malay. We will approach the text as a link between author and audience against the broader social, cultural and political environment. Useful concepts will include: ethos, authority and intentionality, internal and external audience

Readings: we will begin by reading a selection of essays in contemporary Indonesian including material from journals such as Tempo and the newspapers.   From these we will look at the formation of arguments, assumptions made (whether shared or otherwise), local techniques of persuasion and what happens when persuasion begins to break down.   The bulk of the readings will be in Indonesian, some assigned, some chosen individually or by the group.

 Additional readings in English on language, literature and politics; 

Benedict Anderson, Language and Power
Alton L. Becker, Writing on the Tongue
Laurie Sears, Situated Testimonies

Fall 2017