August 27-28, 2019

This  two-day conference  to deepen the ongoing discussions and public outreach instituted by our Sawyer Seminar over the past year and a half, which the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) initiated in 2016 with a Sawyer Seminar grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The conference will host scholars involved in producing an edited volume and a companion digital platform on the topic of Global Language Justice.  Participants will include human rights specialists, policymakers, computational linguists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and activists who will address a range of problems typically kept separate: a) the social effects of English monolingualism; b) the influence of technology on language vitality; c) the role of translation and interpretation in legal redress and social wellbeing; and d) the potential of the arts to enact justice and revivify language communities. The goal of the conference will be to book chapters for a volume that will establish, authoritatively, this exciting new field of academic research. We intend for this collection to clarify the meaning, vicissitudes, and scope of the field, and to establish a solid foundation for innovative policy work that includes numerous stakeholders—grassroots activists, translators, legal and medical practitioners, and digital innovators.

Contributors include: Deborah Anderson on digital infrastructures of script preservation; Isabelle Zaugg on the ancient Ge’ez script of Ethiopia and its survival through digital media; Moria Paz on language rights as a legal problem; and Daniel Kaufman on grassroots organizing around endangered languages, immigration and the city.

This event is closed and not open to the public.