Sunday, November 15, 2009

CFP: American Studies Association of Turkey Conference

American Studies Association of Turkey
34th International American Studies Conference

The Art of Language: Cultural Expressions in American Studies

November 3-5, 2010
Alanya, Turkey

Confirmed Speakers:
Shirley Geok-Lin Lim
Cherrie Moraga
Celia Herrera Rodriguez

According to American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thought is the blossom; language the bud; and action the fruit behind it." Without language in all of its forms-oral, written, visual, and symbolic-there would be no way to translate thoughts into political action or personal expression. In many branches of American Studies, language itself has become a form of art-the vehicle through which those in the mainstream and in the margins have communicated their histories, cultures and visions of the future. Socially-constructed and thus almost always political in nature, language not only allows individuals to develop an understanding of their environment(s), but also permits them to engage in the shaping of their own landscapes.

Language is thus intrinsic to the expression of culture. Not only does it convey values, beliefs and customs, but it also has an important social function in that it fosters sentiments of collective identity and solidarity. It is the means through which culture and its traditions are preserved and transferred from generation to generation. Consequently, as languages disappear, cultures, and their numerous layers of representation, also wither away and die, for gone are the mechanisms that translate thought into experience. Conversely, language also has the power to produce and unite, serving as the currency for cross-cultural exchange, the adaptation of new rites and rituals, and the transformation of individuals into global citizens.

The American Studies Association of Turkey invites proposals that consider the art of language as a cultural expression, broadly conceived. We particularly encourage abstracts which incorporate transdisciplinary explorations of the subject, and welcome submissions from any branch of American Studies. Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
  • Music as a language of cultural expression
  • Indigenous languages and cultures/language revitalization
  • Multilingualism/multiculturalism
  • The politics of language and culture
  • Trans or intercultural languages
  • English as the global language/"American" as the global culture?
  • Cultural expression in speech behavior
  • Cultural outcomes/products of language (hybridity, creolization, metissage, mestizaje)
  • The manipulation of language for cultural/political purposes
  • Race, language and culture
  • Semiotics/semantics/sign language
  • Visual language/visual culture/aesthetics
  • The visual word (comic books/graphic novels/political cartoons)
  • Art, language and culture
  • Literature and cultural expression
  • Food and clothing as cultural expressions
  • Ecolinguistics
  • Performance as a language of cultural expression
  • Oral traditions (griots, storytelling, folktales, street poetry) as cultural expressions
  • Domestic arts (quilting, weaving, pottery, and needlework) as cultural expressions
  • Language and American identity
  • The body as a language of cultural expression
  • Self-writing (travel writing, journals, diaries, and memoirs) as cultural expressions
  • Translation/interpretation/adaptation of language
  • Language as cultural resistance/subversion
  • Design/architecture as languages of cultural expression
  • Artificial languages/constructed languages/technolanguages
  • Pedagogical applications of language and culture
  • The limits of language, especially for cultural expression
The time allowance for all presentations is 20 minutes. An additional 10 minutes will be provided for discussion.

Proposals for papers, panels, performances, exhibits, and other modes of creative expression should be sent to Tanfer Emin Tunc (asat2007 [at] and should consist of a 250-300 word abstract in English, as well as a 1-2 paragraph biographical description for each participant.

Deadline for submission of proposals: April 30, 2010
Notification for acceptance of proposals: August 1, 2010

More information will be posted on our website as it becomes available:

In Cooperation with the Embassy of the United States and the City of Alanya

Friday, November 06, 2009

CFP: Linguistics for intercultural education in language learning and teaching

Call for chapters
(deadline for abstracts: 1st March 2010)
Linguistics for intercultural education in language learning and teaching


Fred Dervin
Adjunct Professor in sociology (University of Joensuu Finland)
Adjunct Professor in Language and Intercultural Education
(University of Turku Finland)

Anthony J. Liddicoat
Professor of Applied Linguistics (University of South Australia)

According to Daniel Coste (1989), the field of language education consists of a vast array of direct and indirect discourses on language teaching and learning as held by various actors (teachers, researchers, publishers, scientific and professional associations… ). As such, the field is complex and multifaceted. This volume is interested in one aspect of language learning and teaching, intercultural education, and the role that linguistics can play in its design and implementation. The relationship between linguistics and language education has varied over time and most recently, linguistics has played a more reduced role in developing theory and practice in language education, especially where views of the nature of language teaching and learning have moved beyond simple code based views. This means that while fields such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and philosophy have had a clear influence on theory, practices and research directions for intercultural education, there have been relatively few attempts at linking linguistics and intercultural education.

In language education, the learner has now become a real "subject" – a subject who is at the centre of learning and teaching; a subject who is taught to be responsible for his/her learning; a subject who interacts; a subject who is required to be both performer and analyser of language in use. The emergence of an intercultural perspective in language education has had a significant role to play in allowing these changes. Many researchers such as Abdallah-Pretceille, Byram, Kramsch, Zarate… have called for systematic integration of work on intercultural communication and the development of intercultural capabilities in language classrooms. Though their approaches and theoretical backgrounds often differ, their main message seems to be the same: language educationalists need to move away from an educational approach which consists in building up facts about a "target culture", comparing "cultures" and analysing the cultural routines and meanings of a particular group of people and overemphasizes national/ethnic identities and cultural differences in an objectivist perspective.

These scholars seem to agree that "culturalism" (or the use of culture in an uncritical and systematic way to explain intercultural encounters) tends to give a very objectivist-differentialist vision of "cultures"; it also corresponds to "analytical stereotyping" (Sarangi) and ignores the postmodern understanding that identities are multiple and co-constructed – even within the self. This is why methodologies which consist of "soft" content analysis, which merely paraphrase what the Other or the Self have to say to serve as evidence of "culture", need to be questioned. In attempting to move intercultural language education beyond superficial ways of understanding the intercultural, methods such as participant-observation, self-reflexive essays, roleplays, simulations, and even "stays abroad" have been used for allowing learners to develop what most authors call "intercultural competence" (Byram, 2008). Such activities are developed as opportunities for students to develop reflexive and critical skills yet, how the students build up these skills through such activities is often less well explored.

One of the main problems facing intercultural education is our heavy reliance on interpreting and understanding discourses and actions. Discourses are unstable and do not always correspond to actions. These problems call for different ways of understanding and analysing learners' relations to interculturality and their discourses on the self, the "same" and the other. The analysis of language can allow people to examine how they construct/co-construct themselves and others through the discourses they use and encounter. Faced with unstable and contradictory discourses and actions, learners need the resources to analyse both their construction and their (in)consistency. We believe that linguistics has a role in developing more sophisticated understandings of the nature of the intercultural in language education.

One of the reasons that linguistics has been seen as having little relevance to interculturally oriented language education is that it has often been perceived as being concerned with formal descriptions of autonomous linguistics systems, however, linguistics, just like language education, has evolved massively since the 1970s. In a very similar vein to other human sciences, new approaches in linguistics have emerged which give greater emphasis to language in use, to the culturally embedded nature of language, to the role of context, to interaction, and to analysing the ways discourses are (co)created and negotiated between interlocutors.

Some of the linguistic approaches that may serve as tools for understanding and researching intercultural language learning and teaching include, but are not limited to:
  • Conversation analysis
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Dialogism
  • Discourse analysis
  • Ethnography of communication
  • Interactional sociolinguistics
  • Membership categorization analysis
  • Positioning theory
  • Pragmatics
  • Reconstruction method
  • Rhetoric
  • Semantics
  • Semiotics
  • Theories of enunciation
  • Theory of prediscourse.
The editors of this volume believe strongly that linguistics has a lot to offer to both language and intercultural educationalists and researchers. This volume aims to present a range of investigations of intercultural language teaching and learning which demonstrate how linguistics can contribute to understanding the field. Focusing on any field of language education (primary, secondary, higher education, lifelong learning, adult education… ), the contributors will examine how teachers and researchers use linguistics to promote and research interculturality in language education. Possible topics to be covered include the role and use of linguistics in:
  • language and intercultural education in the classroom;
  • in computer-mediated language learning and teaching;
  • in informal language learning contexts;
  • in teacher education (pre-service or in-service);
  • in preparation for study abroad;
  • in assessing intercultural capabilities;
  • in combination with other disciplinary approaches to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on intercultural language education.
CFP: November 2009
Deadline for submitting proposals: 1st March 2010
Decisions: 15th April 2010
Chapters to be handed in by 15th September 2010

Potential authors are invited to submit a 300-word proposal (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to both editors by 1st March 2010 ( & The proposals should clearly explain the theoretical framework and concerns of the proposed chapter, and include a short description of a corpus (where applicable). A basic bibliography may also be added. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by 15th April 2010. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by September 15th 2010. The book is scheduled to be published in autumn 2011 by an international publisher. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a blind review basis.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


That was a long one--seemed to go for at least 30 seconds (but I'm not sure). [The TV news said it lasted a minute, but they're also saying it was 7.0 at its epicenter, so I don't know...] I was just starting to read the preface to Vicki Tolar Burton's Spiritual Literacy in John Wesley's Methodism (see, I keep up with what's going on at SU) and I'd gotten to the part where she's describing an engraving of John Wesley's deathbed scene, and... boom! Now I'm afraid to open the book again!

[Update:] According to the Central Weather Bureau, it was two tremors--one at 5:32 and one at 5:38 p.m. I must have felt the first one because I started writing this post at 5:35 p.m.--that was a 6.0, centered in Nantou. (The USGS says it was a 5.7.)

[7:36 p.m.update:] Yet another one just hit. A very short one, though. I saw on the news that someone from the Central Weather Bureau was saying these were adjustments (aftershocks?) related to the 921 earthquake that happened 10 years ago. (!)

Dead pigeons

No, this isn't the name of a new punk band--I'm just noting the fact that I have seen two dead pigeons today. This morning we saw one lying outside the KFC on the corner of Taichung Harbor Rd. & Huichung Rd. At the time, I thought maybe it had flown into the plate glass window and died.

Later, when I was walking to my classroom an hour ago, I saw another dead pigeon lying next to a tree. They were both about average size, probably adults (though I don't know for sure). Just surprised to see two dead pigeons in one day. Hopefully it's a coincidence...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009