I submitted a proposal for an NEH Enduring Questions grant program to create a course that addresses the question: How do we shape language?
Here’s the 1000-character abstract:
How do we shape language? As human beings, we depend upon language for thought and communication and have developed numerous technologies to shape it in effective and artistic ways. In shaping language through these technologies, however, we are also shaping ourselves. This question resurfaces whenever a new technology comes into play and has been a cause for both celebration and alarm. Recent generations of college students were raised in media rich environments and need to become aware of the importance of how these technologies and media shape language and thought to to become sophisticated consumers and creators of media. By reflecting on the question of how we shape language with new generations of students we can lead them to be critical readers, writers, and thinkers in an age of advanced literacy. The proposed course will examine the following technologies: poetry, writing, print, electronic media, and digital media by examining examples from English and American literature.