Decolonising university curricula has made international headlines in recent years. From the Rhodes Must Fall movement, to campaigns within universities to diversify reading lists, university departments have integrated new teaching practices that seek to both acknowledge and challenge the legacies of colonialism. Some UK universities have begun to recognise how they profited from the slave trade and have made (not uncontroversial) plans for restorative justice. Given its intrinsic relationship with the history of colonialism and its aftermath, Modern Languages – and the multilingualism upon which it relies – has been at the centre of debates about reforming research practices across universities. Scholars such as Alison Phipps, and research funded by the AHRC ‘Translating Cultures’ theme, have led the way in deploying creative and self-reflexive methods to acknowledge the uneven power relations that are implicit in the way we teach and learn languages.
While research agendas in the field have begun to embrace change, it is far less clear how the Modern Languages teaching landscape has been transformed in recent years. If scholars have questioned how imperial and colonial forms of knowledge-making impact upon their research, what opportunities and challenges have arisen when integrating de-colonial research into materials and methodologies for teaching?
The aim of this conference is to explore, examine and disseminate practices from within university language departments, sharing ideas about existing knowledge and practices of attempts to decolonize Modern Languages curricula in the UK and beyond.
Deadline for submissions: 31 January