Lecture by Joe Lo Bianco, March 16, 2007

Too Much and Not Enough Identity: Constituting English in Asian Language Policy Circles

by Joseph Lo Bianco, Chair of Language and Literacy Education, University of Melbourne, Australia

This lecture discusses recent and long-standing attributions of both cultural neutrality and bias in and for English. The lecture will trace both recent and longer term associations of English and how it has been regarded in various Asian and European contexts and contrasts these with attributions made for other languages of wider communication and with invented/artificial languages.

I have previously argued (Lo Bianco, 2005), that in Asian contexts English is often constituted as a post-identity language when its promoters seek to bolster its acceptability, and as a hyper-identity language when English is seen to correct national deficiencies. Both of these assume consumerist modernity under conditions of globalized late-capitalist life as the essential identity-formation matrix. English is inextricably counted as the realizer and vehicle of this complex notion in which individualism, liberalism, and consumerism are seen to form human subjectivity.

The lecture will locate communication within a temporal framework influenced by the ideas of Raymond Williams, and new thinking about linguistic relativity.

Friday, March 16, 2007
3:00-5:00pm, B-4 Dwinelle Hall