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Multiple languages & globalization: Two upcoming conferences

Two separate conferences that will take place this coming September address different aspects of languages in the globalizing world: policy and planning; and transnationality. (The CFP deadlines for both have already passed.) Although the topics are different, they do overlap in some ways. Quick profiles follow:

LPP 2016

LPP2016 imageMultidisciplinary Approaches in Language Policy and Planning (LPP) is an annual conference series sponsored by the University of Calgary since 2012. The next edition – the fifth – will take place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on 1-3 Septermber 2016.

LPP includes “papers and colloquia that approach language policy from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, and in a variety of contexts, from the local/institutional to national/global” addressing the following areas (list from conference CFP; selected items linked to Wikipedia articles):

Language policy and planning are first thought of in the context of nation-states and their governments, and secondarily in terms of regional subdivisions in some multilingual countries. However, international/intergovernmental organizations also have language policies (such as the United Nations) and in some cases do language planning (such as various processes in Africa concerning orthographies and cross-border languages). And some countries (such as the US, UK, France, and China) officially sponsor programs to expand global use of their main languages. I suspect that the international dimension of language policy and planning will only become more important.

The last bulleted item in LPP’s list above (which appeared in its CFP) seems to have a significant overlap with the topic of the other conference, on language and transnationality, which is spotlighted further on.

The LPP conferences achieved early success and since have become well-established in the field of language policy and planning with participants from 25-30 countries annually. An interesting side note is that the University of Calgary also sponsors a more locally-focused annual spring conference on Linguistic Diversity and Language Policy (LDLP), which complements the LLP series. According to Prof. Thomas Ricento, organizer of these conferences, “The goal of both conferences is to raise awareness on language matters in Canada and globally and to provide an opportunity for up and coming scholars and seasoned scholars and researchers to meet (in the Fall conference [i.e., LPP]), network, and share research. … both conferences have featured plenary speakers with particular expertise in a range of areas in Language Policy and Planning.” (Thanks to Prof. Ricento for sharing information and links.)

Languages & Cultures in 21st Century Transnationality

The Languages and Cultures in 21st Century Transnationality conference will be held on 9-10 September at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. It is an interdisciplinary conference relating to the study and teaching of modern languages, and focusing on transnational aspects, which seeks to bring together three academic streams (info below reformatted from the conference CFP; selected themes linked to Wikipedia articles):

Within this list, thereis overlap with the LPP conferences, most obviously with the mention of language planning.

The conference CFP elaborated the concept in these terms:

Modern Languages, both implicitly or explicitly, deals with the transnational aspects of cultures and, as a discipline, it is hence ideally suited to have societal impact on the construction of transnational education. Intercultural citizenship, in particular, is becoming a sine qua non in the Twenty-First Century. Modern Languages poses multicultural and multilingual questions about identity, subjectivity and alterity of past, present and future. As academics we represent institutional power and theoretical knowledge; we are mediators between theoretical processes of conceptualization and practical moments of interpretation; information brokers and hence in the fortunate positions to bring about social change.

Unlike the LPP series, this is a first time conference. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Summary

I find it useful to juxtapose such efforts, which approach a broad common area – in this case as I see it, how we constructively deal with linguistic diversity in a changing global (and national and local) society – from different vantage points. Each addresses different areas of practice – policy and planning, and education in the context of transnationality – but there are overlaps in some theoretical topics considered. LPP’s area of concern is scalable to a large degree – one can discuss and to a certain degree apply policy and do planning at different levels. The Translationality conference has a more explicitly global and perhaps multilocal focus in terms of understanding processes, though that knowledge could naturally be applied by educators down to the local level.

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