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International scholars converge on SU for ‘Bilingual Mind’ symposium Oct. 7-8
Bilingual language mixing and creativity are the twin focuses of an upcoming symposium by the Andrew W. Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor, an interdisciplinary partnership with Syracuse University, Cornell University and the University of Rochester. Titled “The Bilingual Mind,” the Oct. 7-8 program features presentations by and discussions among more than a dozen international scholars of bilingualism and multilingualism.
Events are free and open to the public. For registration information, call (315) 443-7192, or visit http://bilingualmind.syr.edu/.
“The Bilingual Mind” is organized and presented by SU professors Tej Bhatia and Silvio Torres-Saillant with a working group of the Linguistics Cluster of the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor. Symposium co-sponsors are the SU Humanities Center and La Casita Cultural Project, the latter of which is a Chancellor Leadership Project.
“At a time when people are becoming increasingly mobile and ethnically self-aware, questions about bilingualism and multilingualism take on increasing importance among students and scholars,” says Bhatia, professor and coordinator of linguistics in SU’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.
Torres-Saillant agrees. “New international circumstances have developed in the past few decades, causing linguistic and ethnic communities that were previously submerged to politically reassert themselves,” adds Torres-Saillant, professor of English and Latino-Latin American studies. “More than ever, opportunities to study individual and societal bilingualism are presenting themselves.” Bhatia and Torres-Saillant are professors in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The objective of the symposium is two-fold: to present papers by leading scholars about current challenges of bilingualism, and to engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of issues surrounding bilingual thinking and creativity, including language mixing (e.g., “Spanglish,” “Hinglish,” and “Chinglish”), bilingual language acquisition and global popular culture. “The whole notion of language mixing is fascinating because it leads to desired socio-psychological effects in language. This is particularly true in advertising, which satisfies the creative needs of many bilinguals,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, as well as founding director of the SU Humanities Center and principal investigator of the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor.
Invited speakers are Bhatia (SU), Barbara Bullock (The University of Texas at Austin), Susana Chavez-Silverman (Pomona College), Tula Goenka (SU), Rania Habib (SU), Jeff MacSwan (Arizona State University), Salikoko Mufwene (The University of Chicago), Scott Paauw (University of Rochester), Rajeshwari Pandharipande (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Itesh Sachdev (University of London), Almeida Jacqueline Toribio (The University of Texas at Austin) and Mohamed Zied Guesmi (SU). Additional presentations by Barbara Lust (Cornell University) and Artemis Alexiadou (University of Stuttgart) are scheduled for later in the academic year.
Torres-Saillant is particularly excited about the opportunity for dialogue between campus-based academics and distinguished guests. “There will be considerable conversation about code-switching, code-mixing, the dynamics of intermingling languages and the creativity of human condition,” he anticipates.
SU faculty members scheduled to participate include Amanda Brown, Myrna García Calderón, Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Jaklin Kornfilt, William Ritchie, Emma Ticio and Gerlinde Ulm Sanford (Arts and Sciences); and Cynthia Gordon and Kendall Phillips (College of Visual and Performing Arts). Opening and closing remarks are by Arts and Sciences Dean George M. Langford and Lambert.
More information about the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor, which is administered by the SU Humanities Center, is available at http://www.syracusehumanities.org/mellon/.