Languages and Authority
In 2013–14, the program’s inaugural year, the fellows and the accompanying seminar series will focus on how languages interact with political, social, economic, and cultural authority. Languages can be powerful tools for expressing and asserting authority. Yet they also constitute forms of authority in and of themselves (such as in the standardization and uniformity that they impose). Languages as forms of authority are also contested, and language communities have often formed a basis for resisting authority. Possible topics for this cycle include the ways in which languages and language use interact with globalization, empire, decolonization, nation-state formation, nationalism, language policy, language ideology, social stratification, migration, commerce and trade, social and religious movements, and the sociology of knowledge production.
The program's director is Michael Gordin, the Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History.