January 26, 2018


Heyman Center for the Humanities, Common Room

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Event Organizer

Lydia H. Liu and Anupama Rao

Event Sponsor

Event Co-Sponsor(s)

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences Office of the Executive Vice President and Dean

The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights

The Heyman Center for the Humanities

Open to faculty and graduate students only. Please email for pre-circulated readings.

Using her public lecture from Thursday night as a starting point, Suzanne Romaine, University of Oxford, will explore deeper the issues of

Linguistic diversity and sustainability: Global language justice inside the doughnut

In this lecture Dr. Romaine proposes a doughnut as a model for thinking about the relationship between language and inequality in a linguistically diverse world and for explaining why language is the missing link in the global debate on sustainability, equity and poverty. By suggesting how human well-being can exist only within limits that are both social and ecological, the doughnut highlights the importance of addressing environmental sustainability and social justice together. Policies that discriminate against the languages of the marginalized poor severely compromise the power of global development agendas to improve their lives. The cross-cutting effects of linguistic diversity on all aspects of human welfare mean that global development agendas cannot reach the ‘bottom billion’ until they speak to them in their own languages. Changing the normative perspective to make room for global language justice inside the doughnut requires teasing out and understanding numerous complex linkages between language, poverty, education, health, gender, and the environment that have been rendered invisible by prevailing models and discourses of development. She will also identify some specific pathways and policies for sustaining linguistic diversity through explicit recognition of language as both a right and means of inclusive sustainable development.

Image by Abel Tilahun

 The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Room B-101
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY, 10027
  (212) 854-4541
  (212) 854-3099