Introductory Statement


May 1517, 2008
Reno, Nevada

Writers in Between Languages:
Minority Literatures in the Global Scene


La lengua inglesa se ubica así en el centro de un sistema global donde desempeña un papel idéntico al del dólar en el sistema monetario internacional. Para decirlo con una expresión del léxico de la astrofísica, este sistema descansa sobre la existencia de un astro supremo (el inglés, idioma llamado hipercentral) alrededor del cual gravitan una docena de lenguas-planetas, a su vez rodeadas del alrededor de 200 lenguas-lunas, en cuya órbita evolucionan otras 6.000 lenguas. (Cassen, Bernard: “Un mundo poliglota para escapar a la dictadura del ingles,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Enero 2005, pág. 22)


The quote above from Le Monde Diplomatique reflects the growing alarm regarding the predominance of English as the lingua franca of global culture even for languages and literatures as hegemonic as French. For example, Basque language speakers used to feel that same alarm vis-à-vis French or Spanish. Increasingly, any non-English writer is confronted with the cultural, ideological, and economic consequences of the centrality of the English language. How is this global hegemony affecting the realignment of world languages and literatures? What are the chances for voices coming from the margins to be heard in this new scenario? Do all writers now have to think of their work as translated in between languages and dominant discourses? What is the role of a minority literature regarding its community? Does language have a crucial function as a means for expressing and forming a cultural identity? What are we talking about when we talk about Iberian literatures? These are some of the questions that this conference on literature will address and bring up for discussion.

The format of the conference will consist of an in-depth debate on the previously distributed papers. We will schedule various panels where each scholar will have the chance to summarize, in 15 minutes, the conclusions of his/her paper. An open debate will follow each panel’s presentations.


Contact Information:

Dr. Mari Jose Olaziregi (Chairperson)
enter for Basque Studies / 2322
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

phone:    775.682.5576 / 775.784.4854
e-mail:   mjolaciregui@unr.edu
fax:          775.784.1355
web site: http://basque.unr.edu

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