Linguistics in a transforming South Africa

Call for expressions of interest
Linguistics in a transforming South Africa: perspectives on curriculum, research and disciplinary practice
A joint initiative of SAALA & LSSA

20 to 22 January 2016
Rhodes University, Grahamstown

SAALA and LSSA/LVSA are joining together to host a gathering of linguists in South Africa in order to facilitate the transformation of the discipline, in all its facets and applications.

This is the first event of its kind, as far as we know, and comes at an important point in the history of our country and our discipline. The linguistic disciplines are articulated within a Southern African context characterized by rich linguistic diversity. However this diversity exists within spaces intersected by complex linguistic power relations, English hegemony, prescriptive linguistic attitudes, social and economic exclusion, identity and aspirations among many others. Some of these issues have been highlighted by more inclusive student demographics, by popular movements (both within higher education and in society more broadly), calls for rethinking the role of language in HE and calls for decolonizing HE. While South African institutions of Higher Education have been transforming during the past 21 years of democracy (and before), recent political developments have brought many of these issues to the fore and have contested narratives of transformation, inclusivity and change. Equally, there may be the possibility of threats to the transformational project, both from reactionary special-interest groups on left and right as well as from the imperative of the state to cater to the needs of economic development. Against this backdrop, it is appropriate for Linguists to proactively articulate the role and relevance of linguistics and the linguistic sub-disciplines within a transforming South Africa. In this context, the South African Applied Linguistics Association and the Linguistics Society of Southern Africa will host the first summit of linguists to discuss these issues.

We would like the meeting to be as representative as possible and we encourage all departments where linguistics is taught or researched to send at least one representative. Please contact Sally Hunt (SAALA chair) at s.hunt (AT) or Mark de Vos (LSSA/LVSA president) at m.devos (AT) for more information.

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