Make sure to catch all three lectures led by Mithilesh Mishra (UIUC) and Asha Sarangi  (JNU) where they will explore language in nationalism and politics. Below is the line up for Mishra and Sarangi's lectures. All lectures will be conducted through Zoom at 12PM (CST).

  • Wednesday, March 8th: "Language and Nationalism: Conceptual and Historical Understanding"

    • In this talk, Dr. Mishra and Dr. Srangi situate and explain historically the relationship between language/s and nation/s and its complex and dense interface with concepts of culture, identity and history. They interrogate and contest the idea/s of cultural nationalism that emerged in different parts of the world in the 19th and 20th century.

      The problematic of language nationalism, commonly addressed as linguistic nationalism, is predicated on the thematic of language as culture, an ideology, as race, class, caste and state to unfold its specific forms and modes of articulation and propagation. The questions central to this inquiry would be to locate the political economy of linguistic nationalism, multiplicity of language movements invoking the idea of language community and identity for people, and enshrining the idea of nation-formation through language nationalism/s. The three dominant modes of discursive, cultural and political formations of nations and states in the last two centuries have shown that language- based nationalism is not just an invented nationalism but a socially and historically contested nationalism based on notions of linguistic-cultural heterogeneities, pluralities and collectives of all sorts. The conceptual and normative understanding of the relationship between language and nationalism reveals how the idea of nation-states have been conceptualized theoretically and realized historically woven within the heteroglossic social reality.
  • Wednesday, March 22nd: "Contemporary Nationalism: Language and Nationalism in South Asia"
    • In this presentation, Dr. Mishra and Dr. Sarangi take into account the category of language in its relationship with the idea of the nation as sources and sites of cultural capital.  In doing so, they establish an imbricative relationship between ‘matra-bhasha’ (mother tongue) and ‘matra-bhumi (mother land) both of which, i.e. language and land, had to be rescued from the colonial dominance.  Unlike the European notion of a nation instrumentally related to the categories of language and race (German, French and English nation formation processes attest this), the language question in South Asia (in case of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal predominantly) has been organically linked up with an idea of nation in each of these cases.  Though language provided both real and abstract symbol for making the notion of nation and nation-hood, it also precipitated movements for partitioning the geo-linguistic and socio-cultural space in the call for dividing the territorial unity of India in the making of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The intense feeling of linguistic patriotism and nationalism was evident in the territorial demarcation of these states along linguistic-religious and cultural divides by constructing narratives and symbols of nationalism built through a close relationship between language/s and nation/s.
  • Wednesday, March 29th: "Language and Politics in India"