The symposium "Multilingualism as Migration" will take place at the University of Luxembourg, Campus Belval, on 3 and 4 July 2017.
Call for papers
The fourth symposium organised by the Key Area for Migration and Intercultural Studies (MIS) at the University of Luxembourg attempts to describe multilingualism as migration. It tackles multilingualism as cross-border movement, with borders in this context not restricted to the solely territorial. Describing multilingualism as migration enables the ‘idioms’ (in the broadest sense of the word) involved not to be viewed as fixed, well-defined units but rather to be understood and described as entities in motion. Texts and the historical and cultural contexts to which they refer can thus be interpreted as the setting for interaction between various linguistic processes. If the linguistic production and allocation of significance – and thus of communicative relevance – is ultimately considered, in its contingency, as a moment of culture, then it is perhaps possible to achieve even more: for in such an instance, texts which establish a relationship between different idioms and thus different ways of generating significance are a key space for political discourse on how society should handle culture and cultural differences.
A corresponding description of texts (in the broadest sense) as a space for political discourse on cultural difference could be particularly fruitful if multilingualism is ‘nailed down’ via its bearers, i. e., both individual texts or artefacts/performances and historical semantics or discourses.
The symposium views multilingualism itself as the variety of methods used to generate significance, with multilingualism thus existing, e. g., under the following circumstances:
Where the social practices of code switching are in use or contact languages are formed
Where words from various dialects or standardised national languages are used in (literary) texts
Where different visual languages or other forms of symbolic understanding are combined in a single performance
Where historical semantics build on structures and elements of different linguistic and cultural origins
In the context of the symposium, migration will be defined as the cross-border movement of linguistically or culturally marked structures and elements. This movement is often linked to the movement of people, but it can also be medially conveyed. For example, literary texts can engage in forms of language mixing which indicate their authors’ migration from one language area to another. Linguistically hybrid texts such as these generally defy fixed cultural or linguistic attributions, and thus demonstrate the redundancy of traditional integrations based on taxonomic linguistics. However, it is also conceivable that interaction with another linguistic tradition could result in comprehensive quotations or acquisitions which could then be described as variations of aesthetic migration. In view of this, migration can shape different forms of movement and demonstrate different directions and degrees of fixedness, which can be traced using the empirical material as a route of reinterpretation and transformation.
The examination of language movement in and via texts/artefacts/performances and historical semantics can also be related to different forms of human migration and to the resulting cultural and political configurations. Multilingualism is thus examined as a dynamic process relying on very divergent relationships to the sociocultural context.
The symposium is, firstly, seeking contributions which attempt to use this description of multilingualism as migration to reap philological benefit and to assess the processes and effects of artistic multilingualism (in the broadest sense). Secondly, it is looking for the inclusion of sociolinguistic and cultural sciences approaches in the broader sense, enabling language movement to be described on the level of historical semantics and discourses, society (or societies) and culture(s). Finally, the symposium is intended to encourage attempts to seek links between these two levels of examination.
Interested participants are asked to submit a short abstract of max. 3,000 characters (incl. space characters) to Till Dembeck.