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Posthuman/more-than-human Applied Linguistics: Nonhuman Actors and Meaning-making

Archway into the quad
December 7, 2021
Emeleus Lecture Theatre in the Physics Building
13:00 - 14:30

Centre for Language Education Research - Seminar Series 

Speaker: Professor Lesley Gourlay, Institute of Education, University College London 

Format: both face-to-face and via Microsoft Teams* 

To register, click seminar. All welcome!  

Facilitator: Dr Ibrar Bhatt, Queen's University Belfast 

Abstract: Applied linguistics has spent several decades engaged with theoretical work which seeks to recognise fuzziness around categories and binaries. In addition to the wide range of insights provided by sociolinguistics and linguistic ethnography, AL has also recognised the complex ways in which ‘language in use’ emerges, taking into account the multimodal nature of semiotic practice, and more recently the complexities of bilingual/multilingual language use in context, as recognised by work on translanguaging. This interactive seminar will propose how the further theoretical step of posthumanist applied linguistics might destabilise further assumptions about the nature of semiotic practices, drawing on science and technology studies, posthuman theory, new literacy studies and linguistic ethnography. With reference to two photojournalling and interview studies, I will propose that this perspective allows us greater purchase on how meaning-making is distributed across nonhuman actors and materiality, challenging notions of what we consider to be text/context, tool/device and device/author or speaker. It will conclude with an opportunity for discussion of implications for the field, and future directions for research. 

Speaker Bio: Lesley Gourlay is a Professor of Education in the department of Culture, Communication and Media at University College London. Her scholarship focuses on technologies and knowledge practices of students and academics, with a particular emphasis on textual practices and the digital. Her recent theoretical work has focused on sociomaterial and posthuman perspectives on engagement in the university, exploring themes of space, inscription, nonhuman agency, and digital media. She is a recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2021-2024), and is writing a new monograph for Bloomsbury on the topic of The Datafied University: Documentation and Performativity in Digitised Education

Location: Physics Building/Emeleus Lecture Theatre (room capacity: 49 with 1m physical distancing) Queen's University Belfast 

*MS Teams (Although this is an in-person event, registered attendees will receive an MS Teams link to be issued on the day of the event should they wish to attend remotely) 

Questions related to this seminar should be directed to Dr Ibrar Bhatt:

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
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