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Language and Nationalism

  • NK14 University of Aberdeen (map)

Aberdeen University Linguistics Society and AUSA Politics and IR Society invite you to this talk on nationalism and the politics of language.

For many of us, the connection between our language and our national identity seems extremely strong and natural. Indeed, states increasingly make knowledge of the national language a requirement for citizenship. Unsurprisingly, language tends to play a central role as well in nationalist movements. Majority nationalists in the UK and the US want to limit the use of languages other than English, while minority nationalists in, for example, Scotland and Catalonia want more rights for their national languages Scots, Gaelic and Catalan.

Some have seen language as an essential thing binding a national community together. Others have pointed out that the idea of one national language came out of the European enlightenment as a tool of elites to secure loyalty to the nation – and led to centuries of violent repression of linguistic diversity in Europe as well as European colonies. The connections between language, nationalism and individual rights are very complex indeed, which is why we have invited Dr Daniel Cetrà to guide us through the different perspectives. He will be drawing on his own research on the interplay between nationalism and liberalism in the debates on language politics in Catalonia and Flanders.

Dr Daniel Cetrà is a Research Fellow at the Centre on Constitutional Change, Edinburgh. He specialises on nationalism, the politics of language and independence movements with a focus on Catalonia, Scotland and Flanders. His book on Nationalism, Liberalism and Language in Catalonia and Flanders – the topic of this talk – is due to be published this year.

EVERYONE IS WELCOME – no prior knowledge is needed. There will be plenty of times for questions after the talk, so there will be opportunity, for example, to ask Dr Cetrà for his thought on Scottish language politics as well!

After the event, we will head to the Bobbin to continue the discussion over some drinks!

Earlier Event: February 14
Dr Kerry Brown on the Rise of China
Later Event: February 25
Committee Roles Meeting