John A. Lucy

Course Descriptions

(Only courses  offered more than once.)

Language, Culture, and Thought (CHDV 21901/31901, PSYC 21950/31900, ANTH 27605/37605, LING 27605/37605)  (Recent Syllabus)
This is a survey course exploring the role of natural language in shaping human thought. The topic will be taken up at three levels: semiotic-evolutionary (the role of natural language in enabling distinctively human forms of thinking--the rise of true concepts and self-consciousness), structural-comparative (the role of specific language codes in shaping habitual thought--the "linguistic relativity" of experience), and functional-discursive (the role of specialized discursive practices and linguistic ideologies in cultivating specialized forms of thought--the pragmatics, politics, and aesthetics of reason and expression). Readings will be drawn from many disciplines but will emphasize developmental, cultural, and critical approaches. Class time will be divided between lecture and discussion.
Advanced Topics in Language, Culture, and Thought  (CHDV 41900/ANTH 47605)
This course examines more intensively one or more of the topics discussed in CHDV 31901, Language, Culture, and Thought.  A typical focus might be on the relationship between the development of narrative and discursive skills in middle childhood (roughly ages 6-12) and the emergence of higher order intellectual skills.  Among the language topics to be considered would be reported speech, metapragmatic skills, temporal and perspectival structure of narratives, hypothetical/counterfactual reasoning, and theory of mind. Readings will include theoretical proposals, literature reviews, and case studies.

Language Socialization  (CHDV 354, PSYC 255/355, ANTH 276/356)  (Not so recent Syllabus)
The course surveys research on language socialization with an eye toward understanding the role of language structure and use in shaping psychological and cultural functioning. Examples of research from a wide variety of languages and cultures and across different ages illustrate the diversity of issues that an adequate theoretical perspective must encompass. Two full ethnographic case studies serve to illustrate how the different topics intersect with each other and with other aspects of culture. Finally, the course considers the implications of this avenue of research for current problems in our own society.
Theories of Self  (CHDV 427) (Recent Syllabus)
This course examines influential theories of self formation and functioning especially with respect to how the theories handle social interaction and verbal communication. The course emphasizes close reading, analysis, and discussion of basic texts representative of major approaches.
Human Development Concepts   (CHDV 40000)  (Recent Syllabus

Basic introduction to the social science concepts and disciplines that inform the study of comparative human development.  The aim is to equip all students, regardless of previous background or future focus with a common background. The course emphasizes close reading, analysis, and discussion of texts representative of major figures and approaches.  Class time will be primarily devoted to discussion. First year graduate students in Comparative Human Development only.

Self, Culture, and Society I  (SOSC 12100)  (Recent Syllabus)
In this course we explore the nature and development of modern society through an examination of theories of capitalism. The classic social theories of Smith, Marx, and Weber, along with contemporary ethnographic and historical works, serve as points of departure for considering the characterizing features of the modern world, with particular emphasis on its social-economic structure and issues of work, the texture of time, and economic globalization.
Spoken Yucatec Maya I, II, III  I, (LACS, ANTH, CHDV, LG\LN  27901+/47901+

Basic introduction to the modern Yucatec Maya language, an indigenous American language spoken by about 750,000 people in southeastern Mexico. Three consecutive quarters of instruction will be offered for those aiming at basic and intermediate proficiency. Students receiving FLAS support must take all three quarters. Others may elect to take only the first quarter or first two quarters.  When possible, arrangements will be made in the spring term for involvement of a native speaker and of  visiting linguists. A second and third year of instruction will be offered when there is sufficient student interest. Students wishing to continue their training with native speakers in Mexico may apply for FLAS funding in the summer to support such efforts.

The course will emphasize learning the rudiments of the contemporary spoken language to enable further work on the language (or related ones) and/or to facilitate the use of the language for other historical or anthropological projects. Regularly scheduled class time will be evenly divided between practice in speaking and hearing the language and discussions of basic grammar, resources (e.g., grammars, dictionaries, text collections, etc.), the language family, cultural and historical context, salient linguistic issues especially in the areas of morphology and semantics, pragmatics and usage, and practical research methods.

Intensive Study of a Culture: Lowland Maya History and Ethnography  (ANTH 21230/30705, CHDV 20400/30401, LACS 20400/30401, CRES 20400)  (Recent Syllabus)
This seminar surveys patterns of cultural continuity and discontinuity in the lowland Maya area of southeastern Mexico from the time of Spanish contact until the present.  The survey encompasses the dynamics of first contact, long term cultural accommodations achieved during colonial rule, disruptions introduced by state and market forces during the early postcolonial period, the status of indigenous communities in the twentieth century, and new social, economic, and political challenges being faced today by the contemporary peoples of the area.  A variety of traditional theoretical concerns of the broader Mesoamerican region will be stressed, for example, the validity of reconstructive ethnography, theories of agrarian community structure, religious revitalization movements, and the constitution of identity categories such as indigenous, Mayan, Yucatecan, etc.  In this respect, the course can serve as a general introduction to the anthropology of the region.  The relevance of these areal patterns for general anthropological debates about the nature of culture, history, identity, and social change will also be highlighted.
Latin American Civilizations in Oaxaca III  (SOSC 19021)  (Recent Syllabus)  
This intensive three-week course, taught at the University of Chicago's Study Abroad program in Oaxaca, is the third in a three-course sequence on the civilizations of Latin America, with special focus on Mexico and Oaxaca. Latin American Civilizations I covers pre-Columbian civilizations.  Latin American Civilizations II focuses on the Hispanic centuries. Latin American Civilizations III covers the emergence of independent nations, Mexico in particular. The course covers the struggles for independence from Spain, the nineteenth-century dilemmas of nation building, the Mexican Revolution and subsequent reforms, and the contemporary period. Registration is by course number SOSC 19021, section 99.  Work for the course will include class participation and presentations and short assignments/papers.