Annual Conference of the Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education
Thursday 19 December 2019 – Ghent University, Belgium
English as a Medium of Instruction and as an Instructed Medium in Higher Education: Policy, Practice, and Challenges
The English language has been embraced in higher education in Flanders and elsewhere as a vehicle of internationalization, opening up the academy to an international body of students, lecturers, and researchers. Its role has been debated widely in the media and contested in language political arenas as hegemonic, as a threat to the mother tongue and mother tongue education, and as detrimental to the quality of instruction and interaction. There is a need for more research on this important topic, as well as research-informed policy recommendations. We invite papers that address the following questions: what is the relationship between governmental and institutional policy and the practices that can be observed in courses and lecture theatres? Does it offer new perspectives for translation policy and practice? What can we learn from other (trans)national contexts that have undergone similar transformations? What are the views and attitudes of students, lecturers, and stakeholders vis-à-vis the use of English, and what constitutes “adequate English”? What are the effects of English-medium instruction on learning, knowledge construction, and cognitive processes? How do institutions monitor, test, and safeguard levels of language proficiency of both lecturers and students, in relation to the specific requirements of academic language use and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)? Do we understand the context of English-medium instruction in monolingual terms or as part of a multilingual space? What is the relevance of the research literature on English as a lingua franca, “plurilingualism”, “translanguaging”, and “translation” for understanding the dynamics of English-medium instruction contexts? Presenters are encouraged but not required to reflect on the Belgian educational context.
Convenor (language studies): Stef.Slembrouck@UGent.be
Convenor (translation studies: Sonia.Vandepitte@UGent.be
Decolonizing English Literature
The literary studies stream takes up the theme of decolonization, which has attracted renewed attention in the wake of the Rhodes Must Fall movement in Cape Town and Oxford. Contestations over the legacies of European colonialism have begun to coalesce around calls to “decolonize” public spaces, institutions, curricula, and forms of knowledge. Decolonization is understood here as a process of challenging the cultural forces that had helped maintain the colonial system and that remain even after the formal end of colonial rule. English departments have been a frequent target of decolonization protests in recent years, with students at universities such as Cambridge and Yale urging faculty to diversify the English literature curriculum in highly-publicized campaigns. We invite papers that explore issues of decolonization in relation to (the teaching of) literatures in English, whether in terms of processes of canon (de)formation, the development of decolonizing reading practices, questions of diversity and equity addressed in specific literary texts, the contemporary resonance of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s seminal Decolonising the Mind and other key theoretical works, or the pedagogical implications of adopting a decolonizing stance in the literature classroom. Presenters are encouraged but not required to reflect on the significance and relevance of the Belgian historical and educational contexts in their papers.
Convenor (literary studies): Stef.Craps@UGent.be
We are pleased to confirm the following invited speakers:
– Slobodanka Dimova (Associate Professor in the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use, University of Copenhagen)
– Ankhi Mukherjee (Professor of English and World Literatures, University of Oxford)
– Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Ghent