Durham University's School of Modern Language and Cultures will be hosting the conference
This conference focus is on questions concerning the uptake of the study of languages and the identity of Modern Languages as a discipline within the academy, which are of urgent national concern. Modern Languages as an interdisciplinary field of enquiry bring a wide spectrum of insights to bear on the most urgent global challenges: debates around space, access, mobility, justice, the global and the local lie at the heart of new research in Modern Languages. Especially recent events – Me Too, BLM, Covid, the war in Ukraine, increasingly more tangible and ubiquitously felt effects of climate change – throw into sharp relief how closely the global and the local are intertwined. Those different aspects cannot productively be explored without thinking about language/s.
The ‘where’ of research in Modern Languages is primarily – but not exclusively – a question of the location of the ‘target’ or subject cultures and their languages. It also encompasses the question of the researcher’s subject position; institutional factors determining perceptions of cultural difference and visibility of Modern Languages research; social factors determining access to language learning and exposure to the positives of intercultural exchange (as opposed to those negatively configured in rhetoric surrounding migration); and a politically sensitive, critical perception of changing mobility, topographies, and of the global/local relationship in the Anthropocene.
Confirmed plenary speakers include Alison Phipps, Siraj Ahmed, Mieke Bal and, as roundtable participants, Charles Burdett, Janice Carruthers, Emma Cayley, Charles Forsdick, and Neil Kenny.