How You Say It: How Speech Structures our Lives and World

Katherine Kinzler

We gravitate toward people like us; it’s human nature. Race, class and gender shape our social identities, and thus who we perceive as “like us” or “not like us.” But one overlooked factor can be even more powerful: the way we speak. Your accent alone can determine the economic opportunity or discrimination you encounter in life, making speech one of the most urgent social-justice issues of our day.  In this class, Professor Kinzler will draw on her own research in developmental and social psychology, and also on broader evidence from linguistics, economics, and the law, to examine how language dominates our mindsets and behaviors.  She will discuss how speech not only causes some of our deepest social divides, but also how exposure to different languages can bring us together.