Colloquium Organizers: Netta Avineri and Jonathan Rosa
Challenging the "chiquita-fication" of Latin@'s Linguistic Skills
Ana Celia Zentella, UC San Diego
The US Census Bureau (CB) and the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) are two major institutions that have contributed to the disparagement, or "chiquita-fication", of the English and Spanish abilities of Latin@s in the US which, along with the powerful English-only lobby, contribute to increased injustices and violence against Spanish speakers. Our collective efforts have successfully challenged the CB's designation of "linguistically isolated” speakers, and the RAE's definition of Spanglish as "deforming", including responding to demands to provide the "right word/definition". Despite their retractions, a lot remains to be done with both institutions on these and other issues, offering many opportunities for scholars and students to get involved.
The Drop the I-Word Campaign: Language Change and Social Change
Jonathan Rosa, Stanford University
This presentation explores the interplay between language and social change, with a particular focus which calls for the media and the public to refrain from using the term “illegal” in representations of (im)migration. The “Drop the I-Word” campaign resonates with a central tenet of linguistic anthropology: Language is a not merely a passive way of referring to or describing things in the world, but a crucial form of social action. While language change is not necessarily equivalent to broader social change, struggles over representations of (im)migration make it possible to imagine and enact alternative politics of inclusion in which migration is valued as a fundamental human right.
The Production and Deconstruction of the "Language Gap": An Application of Anthropolitical Linguistics
Eric J. Johnson, Washington State University Tri-Cities
Kathleen Riley, Rutgers University
The misguided language gap concept did not emerge fully armed from the heads and laboratories of well-intentioned psycholinguists ready to take on school failure in one mighty bound. To the contrary, it has won the day (and popular imagination) despite decades of excellent critical research by a number of brilliant sociolinguists, applied linguists, and linguistic anthropologists. This presentation traces the history of how and why the "language gap" has won so many supporters (and project funding), and how through careful rhetorical work, we anthropolitical linguists may yet create a more productive path.
Mascots, Name Calling, and Racial Slurs: Applied Linguistics and the Prospects for Social Justice
Netta Avineri, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Bernard C. Perley, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
In this presentation we discuss our efforts to create public awareness of and advocacy around sports team mascot names, as an example of name calling and racial slurs more broadly. In particular we will discuss the variety of genres (e.g., op-ed's, resolutions, comic strips) and audience design issues involved in public advocacy. In addition we will talk about embodied social justice efforts including visual exhibits, which can be experienced publicly by multiple participants. Can we turn to embodied language as both analysis and advocacy? Can we turn words into deeds through our engagement with formal categories? And can such an approach make applied linguistics relevant in the real world?
The New Language Education in California Public Schools: At the Threshold of Economic, Linguistic, and Social Change
Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, UC Berkeley
This presentation will focus on California’s new 2016 ballot measure, the “California Education for a Global Economy Initiative,” aimed at repealing many of the provisions of Proposition 227, which in 1998 eliminated bilingual education in the state. This turn of events is significant in California where there has been a history of linguistic and educational segregation. What has made this ballot measure possible? How will a focus on the global economy impact language education in schools? What are the implications of this new recognition of individuals and languages for the social and political landscape of California?
Applying: Moving Knowledge of Language Out Into the World
Susan D. Blum, The University of Notre Dame
Academic knowledge is deep, careful, slow, accreting. It is sparked by curiosity and builds on the work of predecessors, duly cited and challenged. It circulates in journals and monographs, chapters and conference papers. Its garb is an acquired taste. Jargon is its middle name. It has certified practitioners and gatekeepers. But sometimes it spills out, motivated by events in the world. Work in language and social justice has now exited the gates of the academy, leading to exciting, confident, comprehensible—and urgent—efforts to influence policy and attitudes. In my presentation I discuss some recent, exciting, collective activities of linguistic scholars.