Academic Conference Aims to 'De-center English' in Higher Ed
By Neetu Chandak, New York Campus Correspondent
Worried that “xenophobia and nationalism are on the rise,” organizers of a recent academic conference invited presenters to “decenter English as the de facto language” of academia.
Specifically, the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) invited presenters at its Annual Meeting—held in Boston from August 30 through September 2—to hand in research papers in languages other than English to promote “linguistic pluralism.”
“While English has become a scientific lingua franca that has been favoured in communications and networking across the globe, it is the official language of just a handful of countries, most prominently the United States of America and the United Kingdom,” the appeal notes, asserting that “the current policies of these two countries send a message of insulation and parochialism to the world, explicitly threatening the richness and importance of human difference.”
Despite their aversion to the English language, though, the organizers do specify that all presentations must come with English translations “to secure full understanding of each presentation.”