The politics of grammar: Rule, exception and fantasies of linguistic control since Plato

Postgraduate student seminar series

Presented by Nick Riemer, The University of Sydney

Dr Nick Riemer of the History and Philosophy of Linguistics node will be presenting a series of weekly postgraduate student seminars. These seminars will not present a systematic history of grammar and the language disciplines. Rather, they will approach the diversity of Western linguistic theory from a particular perspective, exploring how ‘political’ considerations have entered into, and shaped, canonical understandings of the nature, structure and usage of language. The full description and list of seminar readings can be found here.

Seminars will take place over Zoom and in-person at Room 209, RC Mills building, University of Sydney (subject to confirmation).

If you plan to attend or have any questions, please email Dr Nick Riemer (

Schedule of seminars

August 28 | Ideology and the history of linguistic ideas

September 4 | Plato and the Cratylus

September 11 | Ancient grammar and its medieval legacies

September 18 | Vernacular grammar in the Renaissance

September 25 | French and English thought on language in the 17th and 18th centuries

October 2 | German thought on language in the 18th and 19th centuries

October 9 | NO SEMINAR

October 16 | Saussureanism

October 23 | Anti-Saussureanism

October 30 | Descriptive linguistics after Saussure

November 6 | Linguistics and Western Marxism

November 13 | The generative ‘enterprise’ and its offshoots

November 20 | Ideology and the contemporary language sciences

The event is finished.


28 Aug 2020


each Friday until November 20
2:00 pm - 3:45 pm


The University of Sydney
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