Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Top 25 Most Pretentious Academic Words

I have encountered a number of words used in secondary sources which I have read in my various history classes at Cal Poly. Below is a list of words that while I feel they are good to know and even quite useful when used appropriately. I even use some of them to varying degrees. However, these same words are often employed in scholarly contexts to quite effective affectation. That others sometimes (okay, often-times) use these words pretentiously and ostentatiously does not mean they are not wonderful words when used appropriately. I invite you to know what they mean and use them yourself when appropriate. However, I do declare that each of these words has been employed in scholarly literature that I have personally read that in the manner used annoyed me on more than one occasion.
 Note: these definitions are in my own words but are verified for accuracy and contain hyperlinks to more information each.
  1. agency ~ The capacity to make personal choices.
  2. deviant ~ Outside of norms. Non-normative.
  3. dialectic ~ Discourse involving people of differing perspectives with the goal of establishing the truth.
  4. discursive ~ In a Foulcauldian sense the word is pared with "formation" or "practice" to refer to the qualities of modes of framing research or establishing rules for knowledge-marking..
  5. epistemology ~ How do you know what you know?
  6. gendered ~ Of or pertaining or dominated by traditional gender norms.
  7. hegemony ~ Control by means of indirect control and implied threat.
  8. hermeneutics ~ The study of the interpretation of texts.
  9. historiography ~ What others have written about history.
  10. homosocial ~ non-sexual same-sex relationship.
  11. metropole ~  The imperial center as referenced in postcolonial studies. 
  12. normative ~ What is considered normal or has become normalized.  
  13. ontology ~ The study of the nature of being.
  14. other ~  A non-conforming group.
  15. patriarchy ~ A male-dominated social system.
  16. philology ~ The study of the written word.
  17. reification ~  Giving something physical form.
  18. semiotics ~ The study of meaning.
  19. space ~ In a Kantian sense of the word to suggest that space is subjective and artificial.
  20. subaltern ~ Those without a voice in the colonial period.
  21. tautology ~ Something perceived as truth by means of its being oft repeated.
  22. teleology ~ Explaining how/why something is the way it is. 
  23. typology ~ The classification of things.
  24. unfree ~ coercive or otherwise lacking complete personal agency 
  25. vernacular ~  The distinct language or dialect of a particular people.

No comments:

Post a Comment