Course Spotlight: Critical Approaches to Multilingualism

Kenyan sign in English, Swahili, Arabic, and Amharic. Photo by Aaron Knox.
Kenyan sign in English, Swahili, Arabic, and Amharic. Photo by Aaron Knox.

Course Description

The goal of this course is to explore various issues related to multilingualism through a framework of Critical Applied Linguistics (CALx). We will examine: the relationship between powerful and marginalized languages; the role of multiple languages in constructing and resisting different identities (ethnic, national, transnational); nationalism; postcolonialism; migration; diasporas; interaction between and among languages (variously conceived of as heteroglossia, hybridity, codemixing, translanguaging, etc.); theories and practice of critical pedagogy in multilingual classrooms; and critical approaches to research, especially critical ethnography in multilingual settings.

Sample Readings

  • Blackledge, Adrian, and Angela Creese. 2010. Multilingualism: A Critical Perspective. London: Continuum.
  • Higgins, Christina. English as a local language: post-colonial identities and multilingual practices. Bristol UK; Buffalo NY: Multilingual Matters, 2009.
  • Pennycook, Alastair. Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum, 2001.

Enrollment Details

African 701: Critical Approaches to Multilingualism
3 credits
T 1:20-3:15, Van Hise 394
Spring 2015

About the instructor

Katrina Daly Thompson is an associate professor in African Languages and Literature, affiliated with the doctoral program in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Her research concerns language, power, and identity in African talk and texts. As the department’s SLA specialist, she supervises instruction in African languages, both in traditional classes taught by TAs and lecturers and through self-directed methods.

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