[lg policy] L2 Journal: Call for Papers

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 21 15:15:14 UTC 2011

Forwarded From: Usree Bhattacharya <ubhattacharya at berkeley.edu>
Date: Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 10:11 AM


for a special issue of L2 Journal


Language teachers nowadays are confronted more than ever with the
question of how to teach “culture” in their language classes. The
Modern Language Journal has recently devoted yet again a special
Perspectives section to this issue (Byrnes 2010). But culture is
mostly dealt with ahistorically, not as a speech community’s
historical memories and remembrances. The many commemoration events in
the cultures we teach as well as the many literary and non-literary
texts we teach in our language classes confront us with the necessity
to refer to, explain, discuss the remembrance of historical events
that our students are not familiar with. From which perspective should
language teachers give these events significance?  Unlike historical
events encountered in a literature or history class, that are taught
in an objective manner from multiple perspectives, in communicative
language teaching, historical events live in the embodied memories of
teachers and learners who have experienced these events themselves or
learned about them in many different and sometimes incompatible ways.
Indeed foreign language teachers and students have often been schooled
in a different way of interpreting historical events (see Wertsch
2002). For example, American youngsters have been schooled in a
different view of WWII than German youngsters. How are American
teachers of German expected to teach Borchert’s short story Das Brot,
if they can’t get the students to empathize with the plight of Germans
after the war?

Furthermore, interpretations of history might be different if the
teacher is a native or a non-native speaker, has been schooled abroad
or in the U.S., is of this or that generation, of this or that
political conviction. He/she might put the accents differently, give
reasons that might sound biased, use a discourse that might even feel
un-American to American students. History and memory are profoundly
linked to emotions and moral values (Kramsch 2009). Foreign language
teachers whose professional status is vulnerable to consumer
displeasure and budget cuts or whose visitor status holds them to a
visitor’s politeness might be hesitant to present to American students
a vision of history that might be different from their own. These
teachers might be reluctant to teach any kind of text that would raise
historical controversy and make the students ‘uncomfortable’.

L2 Journal solicits pedagogical reports, empirical studies or think
pieces on “History and memory in foreign language study” that address
any of the following questions:

-       Which role should history play in foreign language study?

-       The MLA Report (2007) advocates teaching a foreign culture’s
‘cultural narrative’. What if there are multiple, conflictual
narratives in any one nation? How does the teacher know which one to
choose? How can FL teachers mediate various interpretations of history
in the classroom?

-       Should foreign language teachers adopt a neutral attitude
vis-à-vis historical events? Should they adopt the perspective of
mainstream American media or of the target culture’s mainstream media?

-       In a globalized world, national histories are intertwined,
commemorative events in one country elicit historical parallels and
comparisons with other countries. Should FL teachers draw links
between historical events of the target culture and events from U.S.

-       How have you, as a native or non-native teacher, dealt with
the representation of historical events in textbooks or class

-       Should teachers separate the objective historical accounts of
history books and the subjective memories of those who remember the
events? Is the one more trustworthy than the other?

-       Can the ‘negotiation of meaning’ called for by communicative
language teaching be extended to include the negotiation of different
interpretations of history?

-       What theoretical resources would help language teachers deal
with the historical/ideological dimensions of the texts they have
their students read?

Please submit a 300-word abstract by March 15, 2011. First drafts due
September 15, 2011 for a special issue of L2 Journal (early 2012).


Byrnes, Heidi. 2010. Revisiting the role of culture in the foreign
language curriculum.

Modern Language Journal 94:2, 315- 336.

Kramsch, Claire. 2009. The Multilingual Subject. What foreign language
learners say

about their experience and why it matters. Oxford: Oxford UP.

MLA Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages. 2007. Foreign Languages and Higher

Education: New Structures for a Changed  World. Profession 2007, 234-245.

Wertsch, James. 2002. Voices of Collective Remembering. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Usree Bhattacharya

Graduate School of Education
University of California, Berkeley

Managing Editor, L2 Journal
C/O The Berkeley Language Center
B-40 Dwinelle Hall, MC #2640
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com


This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
To manage your subscription unsubscribe, or arrange digest format: https://groups.sas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/lgpolicy-list

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list