ULAB Concludes 3-Day International Conference on 'Entangled Englishes in Translocal Spaces'
Peoples Time Desk
The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) held a three-day International Conference on "Entangled Englishes in Translocal Spaces" from September 2-4, 2021. The conference was organized by the Center for Language Studies (CLS) and the Department of English and Humanities, ULAB.
Honorable Minister, Ministry of Education, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Chairman of the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh (UGC), Professor Dr. Kazi Shahidullah, and Kazi Nabil Ahmed, MP, Member, Board of Trustees, ULAB, were present as the Special Guests.
The Keynote Speaker of the conference was Distinguished Professor Alastair Pennycook, Professor Emeritus at the University of Technology Sydney and Research Professor at the MultiLing Centre at the University of Oslo. Through an insightful discussion, the keynote speaker expressed that Englishes are entangled with social, political, cultural, and material realities of individual and collective lives and attain meanings by historical precedents, and with reference to multisensory, multimodal and multilingual resources available in different times and spaces. Professor Pennycook specified that English needs to be delinked from its embeddedness as linguistic object and neoliberal subject. This implies materialist and decolonial activism, research and pedagogy that aim both to decolonize and provincialize English.
The three-day International Conference also showcased three roundtable discussions, five plenary sessions, a poetry recitation session, and a panel discussion by renowned academics, scholars, and researchers from home and abroad. These sessions included discussions on disentanglement from the hegemony of English(es) and its localized power politics; creation of new languages and performing new identities; how nationalism turns out to be a site of class struggle as well as a site of unequal production relations and power relations involving ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities in Bangladesh today; English in early and late colonial Bangladesh; and SDG-based impact ranking of higher education and the role of English-perspective from Bangladesh.
The conference was convened by Professor Shamsad Mortuza, PhD, Vice Chancellor (Acting), ULAB, and Professor Shaila Sultana, PhD, Advisor, Center for Language Studies, ULAB and Professor, Department of English Language, Institute of Modern Languages, University of Dhaka. The Conference Committee was led by Arifa Ghani Rahman, Associate Professor and Head of Department of English & Humanities (DEH), ULAB.
This interdisciplinary Conference included papers, panels, and posters on Englishes and demonstrated their roles in the society with reference to sociology, history, political science, anthropology, education, culture and media studies, critical geography, and linguistics and literature. Showing how the English language is borrowed, relocalised, and enriched with new meanings in different postcolonial contexts, the panelists, paper presenters, and discussants unraveled the dynamic ways different kinds of linguistic and non-linguistic repertories and semiotic signs are exploited, produced, organized, and owned by speakers and authors in everyday communicative events and World Literature respectively.
Scholars, researchers, and professionals from ten countries, including Bangladesh, showed how Englishes may introduce new forms of ideologies, prejudices, racism, and social segregation and marginalization in communities. They also contributed to advancing and interchanging ideas about critical language awareness for social justice and equality. Most importantly, illustrating the commonly found disjuncture between academic research, policy-making, and practices, the Conference has drawn attention of the Government, policy-makers and different stakeholders at grassroots level.
The closing ceremony included speeches by Chief Guest Ms. Sharlina Hussain-Morgan, Acting Cultural Affairs Officer, US Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Special Guest Prof. Imran Rahman, Special Advisor, Board of Trustees, ULAB, along with a vote of thanks by Professor Shaila Sultana. The three-day international conference held online ended with a mesmerizing cultural show presented by the students of Department of English & Humanities (DEH), ULAB.