Foreign language teaching (FLT) and study is witnessing a renaissance in India after its introduction in the universities of Delhi in the 1950ís and 1960ís. The last decade has seen departments being opened and expanded in all parts of the country. Often they work in tandem with language centers run by the embassies such as those of Japan, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and France who pool resources on the array of teaching methodologies, and sophisticated strategies to attract learners. FLT methodology forms a vital aspect of all language departments and in the last few years there has been a spurt in learner corpora and publications on this subject.
It is perhaps also an opportune time to reflect on the premises that have guided foreign language teaching and learning in India. In the nineteenth century, as we know, the teaching of English by the colonial government was considered a measure to create pliant administrators and functionaries. However, the study of English literature and language fortuitously acquired a life of its own and English became an important link language between states. It internationalized education in India and gave a boost to philosophical and political thought on the nature of British rule among other things.
In a post colonial scenario to what extent have utilitarian considerations and the creation of employment avenues guided the opening of other European and Asian language schools? Given the volatile nature of markets and the rise and fall of particular languages in economic terms, should education lean on short term result oriented frameworks or be intellectually sustaining for a lifetime? Does globalization mean only marketability of education and students or does it also open up new vistas like the study of the culture, philosophy and ethos of other nations? Is foreign language teaching fulfilling the Nehruvian vision of interdisciplinary studies encompassing the social sciences? Since translation is one of the prime foci of language learning, have language learners been able to meet the demands for translations across disciplines? Finally how do literature, films and the arts promote understanding and build bridges between countries? Are they tools to come closer to the Other or merely to study the reflection of the Self in another?
We intend to hold a seminar at the School of Languages in Doon University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India in the Himalayan foothills on these and related matters. Presently we have three languages: Chinese, Spanish and German but papers dealing with the above thematic are invited from all foreign language and English teachers or researchers engaged in cross cultural initiatives from India and abroad. We feel learning and pooling our resources about our craft and shared topics of concern will enhance our caliber as professionals in our chosen areas.
250-300 word abstracts are invited but not limited to the following topics:
- Methodologies of teaching foreign languages
- The role of literature, films and the arts in the dissemination of other languages and cultures
- Political economy of foreign language teaching
- Translation and Interpretation studies and practices in India
Papers on any related theme are also welcome. Abstracts of a maximum of 300 words are to be submitted by Saturday, 26th January 2013 through email to email@example.com. Acceptance of abstracts will be notified by mid of March. Abstracts should be in MS-Word format with the following information in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of paper e) body of abstract.
E-mails should be entitled: Doon University ICFLT&ICD 2013 Abstract Submission.
School of Languages,
Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
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