special issue RIAS on language and multilingualism in American Studies

Michael Boyden Michael.Boyden at arts.kuleuven.be
Fri Oct 6 01:59:53 UTC 2006

The Review of International American Studies, the electronic journal  
of the International American Studies Association, announces a special  
issue on language and multilingualism in American Studies organizations.

Historically, most national associations of American Studies have  
conducted their business, both conferences and journals, in their own  
native language, something which has tended to confine their sphere of  
influence. Over the past ten years or so, there have been moves to  
employ English in these public arenas as a kind of lingua franca, on  
the grounds that most scholars involved professionally with American  
Studies will be able to use it. This has been popular with publishers  
seeking to maximize the scope of their readership, and also with  
hard-pressed conference organizers reluctant to provide expensive  
simultaneous translations which may not, in terms of the audience, be  
strictly necessary. However, such a use of English as a global  
language obviously risks marginalizing other languages and enforcing a  
state of linguistic hegemony; it also involves the danger of  
mis-representing the multilingual cultural dimensions of the United  
States, both past and present, and of suppressing hemispheric  
co-ordinates in the study of the Americas.

We would welcome any comments on this topic, particularly in relation  
to how language differences might best be incorporated into  
professional forums. Deadline of submissions: November 15th, 2006.

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