The method courses - some mandatory, some elective - provide you with the essential methodological skills for your Humanities study.
UCACCMET25: The Humanities Lab: Logic, Discourse and Representation
‘The Humanities Lab: Logic, Discourse and Representation’ is mandatory for all Humanities students, as well as Social Science students who wish to finish tracks in Law or Political Sciences. It can be an elective for other students.
Part 1 - Approaches to the Humanities
The first part of this course introduces students into some crucial research methods and methodologies across the Humanities - including literature, art, film, history, and culture in the broadest sense of the word. There is no single handbook that deals with the combined disciplines of the Humanities. Therefore, we will use chapters from different books on theoretical approaches and methods in the Humanities, which will aid students to situate their own ideas in the context of contemporary theoretical and methodological debates.
Part 2 - Propositional Logic
The second five weeks of the course introduce students to basic concepts of logic and pragmatics that can be applied to the interpretation and evaluation of discourse, and provides students with the opportunity to put these concepts into practice. Logic provides formal tools that can distinguish bad arguments from good ones, those that derive a true conclusion from true premises; logic allows us to determine algorithmically whether the premises of an argument support the conclusion. Pragmatics considers the situational context of discourse, including how the knowledge and beliefs of the participants in discourse (speaker/hearer or writer/reader) contribute to the conclusions its participants can draw. The course introduces students to the symbolism and concepts of propositional logic, to techniques that can demonstrate the validity of arguments, and to pragmatic considerations that can influence the effectiveness of arguments in discourse. Students will become familiar with the logical relations that can exist between statements, with logical proofs, as well as some basic tools of pragmatic analysis.
After completing this course students are able to:
- Demonstrate insight into the main research methods and methodologies used in the Humanities;
- Make methodological and theoretical choices appropriate to a research problem in the Humanities;
- Analyse texts, visual materials, and historical sources;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the key terms and concepts of logic;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the principal propositional operators (negation, conjunction, disjunction, and implication);
- Test the deductive validity of an argument by using truth-tables and truth-trees.
The format of the first part of the course will largely be based on the concept of “learning by doing”. Students have to prepare for classes by reading selected materials and completing individual assignments which will be discussed in class. The assignments will be part of a portfolio that the student has to hand in at the end of the course. 1-hour lectures, in-class exercises, seminars, presentations.
In part two, students will be introduced to a new topic in propositional logic every week, and will be given the opportunity to practice it in class, where they will receive immediate feedback from the instructor. During week 10, students will sit in an in-class exam where they will be asked to solve a number of exercises similar in format and complexity to those practiced in class.
Directly following this 5 ECTS course, students continue in one of the separate 5 week course modules (2,5 ECTS).
UCACCMET2E: Predicate Logic
Predicate logic is primarily intended for Humanities students with an interest in Philosophy and Linguistics. The module will also be relevant for Social Science students following Law tracks and some more mathematically oriented students.
In the logic II module, students will be introduced to the symbolism and formalisation of more complex aspects of language and argumentation, in particular predicate logic. The topics discussed in the course include quantifier scope, negation, anaphora, and identity. Finally, students will be introduced to the concepts of coherence and completeness of a deductive system and to some of the principal paradoxes of deductive logic along with their main implications in science and philosophy.
UCACCMET2F: Forensic Linguistics: Language and Power
This module explores language use in forensic and institutional contexts in which asymmetrical power relations predominate (e.g. police vs suspects; governmental institutions vs service users, judiciary vs witnesses, and so on). Using a linguistic toolkit that incorporates stylistics, semantics, pragmatics, and corpus methodologies, the course focuses on, amongst other things, language as ‘evidence’ and language as ‘crime’. It looks at the forensic process of gathering linguistic evidence through witness statement analysis and considers some of the communicative challenges that occur at the legal-lay interface; especially in terms of what happens when victims, witnesses, and suspects come into contact with the legal process.
This stylistics module is primarily intended for Humanities students with an interest in Linguistics, Literature or Media Studies. The module may also be relevant for some Social Science students (especially psychologists) with an interest in cognitive text processing strategies and reception strategies.
Stylistics, sometimes known as ‘literary linguistics’ or ‘literary stylistics’ is a linguistics-based method of literary criticism that emerged in the early 20th century with the advent of Russian formalism with its inherent notion of foregrounding/estrangement. Its real roots, however, are in the world of classical rhetoric and poetics. Stylistics is also a pedagogical tool for the learning of grammatical categories and parts of speech that occur in a semi-natural discourse environment. In addition, stylistic analysis also employs a number of text and discourse theories as methods of analysis including, relevance theory, conversation analysis, speech act theory, etc. Stylistics does not just analyse literary texts, but also looks at everyday texts and the text-image interface that can be found in the discourse of comics, hypertext fiction, multimodal texts, etc.
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- Gothic literature and research methods
- Formal models in syntax and semantics
- Syntax-semantics and prosody-syntax interface
- Semantic focus and information structure
- Interaction of L1/L2-morphosyntax
- Student-drive research
- Interdisciplinary approach to language and literature, which incorporates stylistics, forensic linguistics, cognitive poetics, phenomenology and reader-response
- Member of European FP7 Research Consortium AThEME (Advancing the European Multilingual Experience)
- Theoretical and experimental linguistics
- Language acquisition and language pathologies, in particular dyslexia
- Model-theoretic semantics and implications for cognitive sciences and philosophy of mind.