LINGUIST List 32.1970

Mon Jun 07 2021

Confs: Socioling/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 07-Jun-2021
From: Yvette Bürki <>
Subject: Challenging Borders: From Borders/Between Borders
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Challenging Borders: From Borders/Between Borders

Date: 11-Nov-2021 - 13-Nov-2021
Location: Berne, Switzerland
Contact: Yvette Bürki
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Meeting Description:

Starting at the end of the 1980s, the concept of borders has been subject to new interpretations. Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) provided not only a different way of interpreting borders in literary studies; it also had a notable impact on cultural studies. Notably for our purposes, the border concept also received novel treatment in sociolinguistics, thanks to a spatial shift coming from theoretical proposals in cultural geography, postcolonial theoretical perspectives, and increasingly a decolonial gaze. What all these aforementioned perspectives have in common is an understanding of borders not as lines of demarcation and division, or as symbolizing binaries that oppose the internal, the known, and the proper to the external, the unknown, and the foreign (among other oppositions), but rather as complex phenomena. Borders are peripheral but plural geopolitical spaces, places of convergence and encounter, as well as cultural and linguistic exchange, inhabited by contradictions that only appear as such if viewed from the center or if understood through conventions. Borders have also been represented as crevices that mediate between space and time (Stang 2018), as hybrid, in-between spaces, a third space, as Soja (1996) and Bhabha (1994) conceptualize it. In terms of gender, borders can also be conceived as a fine line between femaleness and maleness (Zimman 2014). In short, they are discursive spaces in which linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and gender / sex identities develop, unfold in their complexity, and challenge the dominant and the conventional. Thus, as Guizardi et al. (2015) propose, the border can be thought of as both structure and agency. Lastly, they are spaces deeply traversed by cracks and fissures that constitute their complexity and, at the same time, their fragility (Grimson 2005; Wilson & Donnan 1998). Taken as metaphors, such crevices become ambivalent places that undermine the stability of unitary and hegemonic discourses (or reinforce them).

Scholars have shown how dichotomous and binary structures have served as a convenient and intuitive theoretical construct that also acts as a tool for analysis, despite its failure in capturing the gray areas, complexity, and linguistic dynamics of many social phenomena (Bucholtz & Hall 1995; Mendoza Dentón 1999; Bailey 2007). On the other hand, scholars continue to question the extent to which hybridity reshapes categories or even effectively dissolves them (Catedral 2021, Gal 2018, García & Li 2014). This conference offers a platform to study and analyze the interstices and grey zones in the linguistic negotiation of ethnic, class, sex/gender, etc. manifestations and to rethink how these border zones should be treated theoretically and methodologically in order to better understand speakers and their practices.

The conference includes the following key themes:

- Linguistic and sociodiscursive practices in border spaces from a sociolinguistic, anthropological linguistic, and discourse analysis perspective.
- Borders as a metaphor of integration and differentiation, along ethnic, cultural, socio-political, generational, gender /sex, and class lines, and in the corresponding media representation.
- Theoretical and methodological treatment of categorization in sociolinguistic, anthropological linguistic and discourse analysis.

Keynote Speakers:

- David Britain (Universität Bern)
- Erez Levon (Universität Bern)
- Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of California)
- Danae Pérez (Zurich University of Applied Sciences)
- Virginia Zavala (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)

Page Updated: 07-Jun-2021