Conference on Language, Discourse and Identity in Central Europe

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Jun 23 13:48:13 UTC 2006

Call for papers

University of Southampton
Centre for Transnational Studies

Language, Discourse and Identity in Central Europe

6-8 July 2007

Keynote speakers

Thomas Diez, Birmingham

Matthias Makowski, Prague

Ulrike Hanna Meinhof, Southampton

Ruth Wodak, Lancaster/Vienna

Context and rationale

In 2004 Andreas Gardt and Bernd Hüppauf published a collection of papers
with the ominous title Globalization and the Future of German (Mouton de
Gruyter). This wide-ranging volume presents a critical assessment of the
present position and future prospects of the German language as a
'paradigmatic example' of the future of European languages in general in
the face of global forces apparently favouring the growing domination of
'global Englishes' and militating against linguistic diversity.

In the same year, the Southampton Centre for Transnational Studies
organised a conference on Language and the Future of Europe, from which
selected papers have now been published in Clare Mar-Molinero and Patrick
Stevenson (eds) Language Ideologies, Policies and Practices (Palgrave,
2006). In her keynote paper, Susan Gal explores the complex relations
between migration, minorities and multilingualism in Europe in terms of
shifting language ideologies, challenging 'the tight Herderian weave of
culture, language and state in Europe' which, she argues, 'is being
stretched and frayed in subtle ways.'

In July 2007, the Centre will host a conference with the aim of developing
these two themes in a particular way. It will investigate Gal's assertion
further by focusing on the context of what she refers to as the 'fractal
geography' of central Europe. Specifically, it will form part of a
research programme, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council,
on the role of the German language in the formation and contestation of
national and regional identities in Germany, Austria and neighbouring
states in the centre of Europe (
<> ).

The main focus of the conference will therefore be not on 'the future of
the German language' but rather on the position and uses of German in
relation to other languages in the current reshaping of central European
space - whether as the dominant, officially legitimated language of
Germany or Austria, as the minority language of historical migrations, or
as a (potential) regional lingua franca occupying the middle ground
between global English and 'national' languages.

Papers are invited that address the roles of language, experiences of and
with language, and discourses about language. As with the previous
conference, preference will be given to papers that integrate
consideration of ideologies, policies and practices.

It is envisaged that selected papers from the conference will be published
in book-form in English, and papers should therefore be given in English.
Abstracts (maximum 200 words) should be sent by email by 1 February 2007
to Dr Jenny Carl at the following address: glipp at Abstracts
should be included in the body of the email, NOT as an attachment.

Questions that could be addressed:

What impact has social, political, economic and cultural transformation
had on patterns of multilingualism in central Europe?

How has migration into and within this region affected linguistic

How far and in what ways is linguistic difference 'heard' and 'seen' in
these multilingual settings?

Are new language ideologies emerging?

Who engages in language policy-making and to what ends?

How far and in what ways are identities imposed, assumed or negotiated
linguistically or through reference to language?

How do individuals use the linguistic resources available to them to
position themselves and others in multilingual space?

What role do narratives about language play in individual biographies and
memories of the pre-1989 past?

Topics could include:

Language ideologies

Identity narratives

Negotiations of identity

Language biographies

Visual manifestations of multilingualism

Globalisation and its discontents

Media discourses (film, TV, music, print media, advertising)

Linguistic practices in popular and youth culture

Linguistic counter-cultures

Linguistic practices and new technologies

Language policy and language management

The role of language and culture agencies (British Council, Goethe Institut etc)

Language and migration (into and within CE)

Language and tourism

Language and history/ memory

Discursive representations of time and place

Language and belonging

Language and social inclusion/exclusion

Language and citizenship

Sprachkultur and language loyalty

Language in multinational businesses

Language and the knowledge economy

Standardisation and linguistic 'legitimacy'

Language and cosmopolitanism

The national and the transnational

Language and territory / de-territorialisation of language

Urban spaces and linguistic neighbourhoods

Speech communities and language communities

Paradoxes of discourses on cultural and linguistic diversity

Language and social / cultural elites

Political discourses


Prof. Patrick Stevenson, Dr Jenny Carl and Livia Schanze

Centre for Transnational Studies
Modern Languages
School of Humanities
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ

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