2013-14 Languages and Authority
Adam Clulow is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Originally from South Africa, he received an M.A. in Japanese history from Niigata University in Japan in 2002 and his Ph.D. in East Asian history from Columbia University in 2008. Since completing his first book on the Dutch East India Company’s engagement with Tokugawa Japan — The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan, forthcoming from Columbia University Press — he has begun work on a new project “Possessing Asia: Languages, Power and European Ceremonies of Possession in Early Modern Asia,” focusing on ritual acts of claiming staged by Europeans across the early modern world and which usually involved a combination of physical acts and spoken declarations. Whereas most prior scholarship has focused on European colonization of the American continents and particularly on figures like Columbus and Cortes, Clulow will explore how these ceremonies played out in Asia, where Europeans were confronted by powerful states equipped with military and economic resources often exceeding those wielded by the most dominant regimes in Europe. The subsequent ceremonies frequently confounded linguistic expectations, sometimes involving a range of languages and producing a diverse set of responses from local communities and neighboring states. During his time in the program, Clulow will construct a narrative and database of linguistic and colonial encounters based on Chinese, Dutch, English, and Japanese sources.
Helder De Schutter is an Assistant Professor in Social and Political Philosophy at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and received his M.A. in 2002 and Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2006 from the same institution. De Schutter is a political theorist who has published extremely broadly on theories of linguistic justice. In his current project titled “Intralinguistic Justice,” he attempts to construct a novel theory for language policy. His approach broadens the conversation in political philosophy from questions of interlinguistic justice — the validity of claims to language rights made by citizens of a multilingual polity, especially those with several recognized legal languages, like Canada or Belgium — to cases of intralinguistic justice: What are the legitimate claims of speakers of regional, class-based and ethnic dialects in the face of state and social claims for the benefits of a standardized language, as in China or Germany, for example?
David E. Kiwuwa is Associate Professor of International Studies, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China, and received both his M.A. and his Ph.D. (2006) from the University of Nottingham, UK in International Studies. His research interests revolve around questions of nationalism, ethnopolitics, conflict analysis, post-conflict reconstruction and democratic transitions in several regions such as China and Europe, but with a special focus on Africa. His most recently published work (2012) is a research monograph on the interrogation of ethnopolitics and democratic transition in Rwanda. Currently, Kiwuwa is working on his second monograph, “Post Conflict Reconstruction and the Politics of Language in Rwanda,” which explores the fraught case of linguistic politics in post-genocide Rwanda, where the official languages have shifted from the bilingualism of French and Kinyarwanda (a local language spoken by almost all of the population across ethnic groups) to post-genocide trilingualism (Kinyarwanda, English, French). Most recently, government policy has moved to displace French entirely with English as the language of international (“official”) communication and educational instruction, a decision tied up in complicated ways to the aftermath of the genocide and the influx of English-speaking returning refugees. The domestic socio-political ramifications of this policy shift are at the core of this project.
Pritipuspa Mishra is a Lecturer at the Department of History, University of Southampton. She received an M.A. in Modern Indian History from the University of Hyderabad, India, in 2002 and her Ph.D. in 2008 in Modern South Asian History from the University of Minnesota, and taught at Texas A&M University before moving to Britain. Her special interests lie in the cultural and intellectual history of South Asia. With her present project “Vernacular Homeland: Language and the Making of the Region in Eastern India,” Mishra is writing the history of the territory of Orissa from its creation in British India up through the formation of an independent India. Orissa was the first linguistically-defined geographic region in the British Raj, specifically created to be a region populated by Oriya-speakers. Mishra is interested not only in the codification of a “standard” Oriya language, but also the way a multilingual environment was developed in India through the construction of monolingual administrative entities as a solution to ethnic and religious heterogeneity, alongside the role of linguistic campaigns in the evolution of the national consciousness.
Brigitte Rath is an Assistant Professor of comparative literature at the Universität Innsbruck, Austria. She received an M.A. in modern European literature from the University of Sussex, UK, in 1999, and her Ph.D. from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany, in 2007. Her research project engages with original texts in French, German and English that -- playfully or fraudulently -- claim to be translations from other languages, with a special focus on the eighteenth century and the Anglophone post-colonial novel. For her project “Presenting an Absent Language – Original Translations,” she reads these texts as both original creative productions and as translations, for that is often how they were understood by readers, to see how these works established both cultural and, in some cases, political authority through their mediation between two or more different language groups.
Ying Ying Tan is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the National University of Singapore in 2003. Tan is writing a sociolinguistic and political account of the attempts by the government of Singapore — which has four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil — to enforce Mandarin Chinese and “Good” English as standardized forms of communication, flattening out an astonishing variety of dialects. In her research project “Contesting Language Policies,” she combines ethnographic work with analyses of how the campaigns worked in practice in order to examine how multilingual environments like Singapore have dealt with problems of linguistic fragmentation over time.