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Ergebnisanzeige "23-24 May 2012: International Symposium “Challenging the Myth of Monolingualism”, Leiden University"
RessourcentypKonferenzen, Tagungen, Kolloquien
Titel23-24 May 2012: International Symposium “Challenging the Myth of Monolingualism”, Leiden University
BeschreibungLeiden University, 23-24 MAY 2012, International Symposium “Challenging the Myth of Monolingualism”

Symposium organized by the Institute for Cultural Disciplines, Leiden University, in cooperation with the Laboratoire de linguistique et de littérature allemande, Luxemburg University, as part of the CORE-project “Multilingual Literature.” The symposium is supported by the National Research Fund, Luxembourg. Organization and concept: Liesbeth Minnaard.

Multilingualism seems nothing less than the sign of our present time. Nevertheless, discussions about multiculturality, migration and, most emphatically, integration in West-European societies continue to revolve around the claim that flawless fluency in the “national tongue” is a fundamental requirement for a full-fledged membership of the national community. Irrespective of the subsequent question, whether acquiring this national language as a second language (or third, or fourth, etc.) can ever suffice to fulfil this requirement (seen the many “unique” qualities attached to the notion of the mother tongue), monolingualism appears as the indisputable norm that guarantees true national belonging and unconditional loyalty.

In her recently published monograph Beyond the Mother Tongue. The Postmonolingual Condition Yasemin Yildiz insightfully states that a tension results from the contradiction between multilingual realities and the seemingly unwavering persistence of the monolingual norm. This two-day symposium sets out to probe this tension. By focusing on manifestations of and reflections on this tension in the field of literature, we aim to investigate the various ways in which prejudices on multilingualism on the one hand, and practices of multilingualism on the other, respectively corroborate and challenge the myth of one exclusive language of national belonging.

The symposium starts with a lecture by Yasemin Yildiz on what she calls “the postmonolingual condition.” Following up on Yildiz’ opening lecture, we will examine and situate the related concepts of mono- and multilingualism. By considering the ethics and aesthetics of multilingualism, by studying its various strategies (such as code-shifting and code-mixing, neologisms and wordplays, as well as the use of linguistic “barbarisms”), and by taking the issue of translation into account, we aim to map the conceptual problems and possibilities of what is called “multilingual literature.”

The second day of the symposium focuses on some more concrete examples of multilingual challenges to the monolingual myth, especially in the context of contemporary migration. In the morning lecture Fouad Laroui will present his ideas on what he calls “the Moroccan Multilingual Tragedy” and its traces in Dutchophone literature of migration. The discussion of several case-studies from Dutch and Flemish literature aims to highlight and compare some of the multilingual strategies at work in this literature. By relating the (destabilizing) effects of these strategies to the specific Dutch and Flemish contexts, we attempt to assess their context-specific multilingual efficacy.


Day 1: Wednesday 23 May

13.00-13.15 Welcome and short introduction
Till Dembeck, Luxemburg University and Liesbeth Minnaard, Leiden University

13.15- 14.15 The Monolingual Paradigm and the Postmonolingual Condition
Key-Note Lecture by Yasemin Yildiz, University of Illinois

14.15-15.15 Monolingualism: A Discussion of the Concept
Readings of central texts guide the discussion. PDF-versions of these readings will be made available to participants in due time.

15.15-15.30 Coffee

15.30-17.30 Panel I: Multilingualism: Ethics and Aesthetics
Georg Mein and Till Dembeck, Laboratoire de linguistique et de littérature allemande, Luxemburg University;
Désirée Schyns, Applied Language Studies, Ghent University College, and Bettina Brandt, Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literature, PennState University;
Esther Kilchmann, Germanistik, Hamburg University.

17.30-18.30 Literary Event: Reading by the Afro-Belgian writer Chika Unigwe, followed by Q&A

Day 2: Thursday 24 May

10.00- 11.00 The Moroccan multilingual Tragedy
Key-Note Lecture by Fouad Laroui, University of Amsterdam

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.30 Workshop II: Multilingualism in the Aftermath of Migration
Readings of central texts guide the discussion. PDF-versions of these readings will be made available to participants in due time.

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.00 Panel II: Multilingual Challenges in Neerlandophone Literature
Thomas Ernst, Germanistik/Literatur- und Medienwissenschaft, University Duisburg-Essen
Elisabeth Bekers, British and Postcolonial Literatures, Free University Brussels
Liesbeth Minnaard, Institute for Cultural Disciplines, Leiden University

15.00 Coffee & Good-Bye

For more information, visit the ICD website or contact Liesbeth Minnaard: Participation in the symposium is free of charge, but registration (before 15 May) is required: The number of participants is limited to 25 (admittance on a “first come, first served” basis).

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
Verknüpfte Ressource
VeranstaltungsortLeiden University
PersonName: Till Dembeck 
Funktion: Co-organization 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Université du Luxembourg 
Strasse/Postfach: Route de Diekirch (B.P.2) 
Postleitzahl: 7201 
Stadt: Walferdange 
Telefon: +352-4666449606 
Klassifikation03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft; 04.00.00 Allgemeine Literaturgeschichte
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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