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Language and Communication in Multilingual Settings

venice long

Date: 4 July 2013
Time: 10am to 4pm
Venue: Old Senate Room, UWA
Cost: Free, but RSVP essential. Register online
Registration close: 28 June, or until full.

This masterclass is presented in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Studies at UWA.


Over the past two centuries, one of the primary markers of national identity, the very stuff of blood and belonging, has been language. The linguistic nationalism of Herder and other theorists of the nation, and their monolingual ideology of one nation = one language has been challenged in our post-national, global and increasingly connected age. The notion of languages as discrete, bounded, impermeable systems, and their attendant communities of identity as fixed and static natural phenomena, is
being subverted by an understanding of linguistic boundaries as multiple, plural, shifting, and eclectic. Indeed, many scholars now argue that multilingualism should be seen not as an exceptional state, but rather as an innate human property characteristic of all societies. This interdisciplinary class will offer participants the chance to examine the function and significance of language and communication within multilingual settings and engage in a methodological conversation about the opportunities and
challenges presented by both historical and contemporary multilingual societies.


Eric Dursteler joined the History Department of Brigham Young University in 1998, where he is an associate professor. He earned his PhD from Brown University in 2000. His research focuses on gender, religious identity and food in the early modern Mediterranean. He has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, the American Philosophical Society, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Folger Shakespeare and Huntington libraries. His publications include Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2006, Turkish translation 2012), Renegade Women: Gender, Identity and Boundaries in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2011), and as editor, A Companion to Venetian History, 1400-1797 (2013). His next book, The Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean World, co-authored with Monique O’Connell, will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2014. He is the editor of the News on the Rialto, and book review editor for the Journal of Early Modern History.