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Stanley Dubinsky (University of South Carolina) – The Language Conflict Project: Analyzing politicized ethnolinguistic conflict in the 21st century
April 16, 2021
9:00 am
ZOOM Virtual Room (Link will be provided)

Stanley Dubinsky (University of South Carolina) – The Language Conflict Project: Analyzing politicized ethnolinguistic conflict in the 21st century

The Language Conflict Project: Analyzing politicized ethnolinguistic conflict in the 21st century

Language and ethnolinguistic identity play an important role in contemporary conflicts in a post-colonial and post-Cold War world. Decolonization, the unraveling of the Soviet Union, the post-Vietnam War withdrawal from Southeast Asia, and the weakening or dissolution of autocracies in North Africa and the Middle East have seen the emergence, re-emergence, or creation of ethnolinguistic conflicts. I will first review interdisciplinary perspectives on ethnic conflict, and look at how resurgent, re-created, and newly created language conflicts are instrumentalized to advance political agendas. Following this, I will introduce the Language Conflict Project (LCP), an interdisciplinary collaborative, intended to advance our understanding of language-related intrastate conflict. Our project features: (i) a Language Conflict Typology, designed to distill generalizations across individual conflicts, (ii) Linguistic Distance Measures (phonological, lexical, syntactic, orthographic), shown to play distinct roles in particular ethnolinguistic conflicts, and (iii) a Linguistic Freedom Index, applied to measure linguistic rights and accommodations with respect to educational policy, laws, media access, economic freedom, and wealth disparity. Finally, I will preview our website, through which the LCP reaches an audience that includes policy makers, diplomats, journalists, and leaders of international businesses and non-government organizations.