Wild Publics: Language Under the Conditions of Late Modernity (Germany)

EventsWILD PUBLICS. Language under the conditions of late modernity – 16th Blankensee ColloquiumMarch 22-24, 2018, Freie Universität Berlin.

From 22nd to 24th of March 2018, we will organise a conference at FU
Berlin, Germany, discussing the construction of public space in relation
to language under the conditions of late modernity.

The conditions of public language in late modernity lead to changed and changing notions of public space: new spaces emerge; existing spaces become reconfigured and gain in complexity. Old divisions of private and public are shaken up, and existing forms of discursive authority and power relations are changed. We suggest that this can be observed in discourses and language uses as they manifest themselves in public space.

By bringing together experts from different fields of linguistics, language and discourse-oriented study, we will address questions such as the following:

•       How are public spaces constituted linguistically?
•       Which changes do we observe in the way people act / speak / write in public?
•       Who is allowed to speak, and how is linguistic authority granted and contested?
•       How are borders between public and private negotiated and reconfigured?
•       How do ‘new’ and ‘old’ publics converge, especially with regard to
digital practice?
•       Who has authority over language, and on which grounds does it emerge?
•       How are truth claims constructed in the context of eroding public

In order to tackle the complex and encompassing question of language and public space in late modernity, we have invited 17 internationally
renowned scholars, and seek to explore how public space changes in late modernity, and in what ways language use is both implicated in and affected by such forms of social and cultural change.

The four guiding questions are formulated as follows:

  1. Changing linguistic landscapes: Which linguistic and semiotic realizations of language are manifest in public spaces, past and present?
  2. Convergence: How can digital and physical/spatial publics be described and analyzed as interacting discourse spaces?
  3. Counter/publics: How are discourse elites and elite discourses manufactured and contested in late modernity?
  4. The public linguist: What are historical and ongoing issues of language in public perception, and what is the role of linguistic experts in an age of contested authorities?

The event is free of charge and interested listeners can register to attend.

Prior to the conference, on the 22nd of March 2018, we offer TWO
METHODOLOGICAL WORKSHOPS FOR JUNIOR RESEARCHERS, one oriented towards qualitative and one towards quantitative methods to study language practice in online contexts. We are proud to announce that both workshops are conducted by specialist experts to the field:

* Ethnographic Approach to Digitally Mediated Publics by Piia Varis, Tilburg

* Quantitative Approaches to Discourse in Social Media by Tatjana Scheffler, Potsdam

The application for the workshops is 31 December 2017.

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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