ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

32 – Dynamics of Language Diversity, Multilingual Identities and Linguistic Nationalism in South Asia

South Asia is one of the most linguistically diverse regions worldwide with multilingualism being the norm, and yet it has been a hotbed for movements of linguistic nationalism. In South Asia, language identity is third only to religious and caste identity, sometimes trumping both, as witnessed historically.

Convenors

Nora Melnikova - South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California Berkeley
Vivek Kumar Shukla - Global Studies Department, Institute of Culture & Society, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Gautami Shah - Department of Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Long Abstract

South Asia is one of the most linguistically diverse regions worldwide with multilingualism being the norm, and yet it has been a hotbed for movements of linguistic nationalism. In South Asia, language identity is third only to religious and caste identity, sometimes trumping both, as witnessed historically. South Asian history includes many instances of conflict arising from language diversity, multilingual identities and linguistic nationalism, with wars being fought, won and lost, triggered by language identity politics.

Talks in this panel will take a holistic view of these issues, by studying different instances of language diversity and linguistic nationalism in South Asia and the diaspora; exploring reflections in news media, literature, cinema and popular culture; recognizing repercussions in economics and trade; developing new directions in language pedagogy to acknowledge, address and incorporate or embrace these issues; studying the dynamics over time and in interaction with the environment, including related phenomena world-wide and in a global culture; highlighting language hegemony as part of a political far right agenda for monolingual identity politics, and how this parallels with similar dynamics in the European context.

In summary, the panel will take a broad perspective of the phenomenon, try to understand it in a wide context, and develop new directions to embrace linguistic diversity and forge collaborations.