Stephanie Rudwick, University of Hradec Králové
“Southernizing the Study of English as a Lingua Franca”
This talk introduces my recent monograph about the ambiguities of English as a lingua franca by focusing on identity politics of language and race in contemporary South Africa. Grounded in ethnography, the book adopts a multidisciplinary approach which highlights how the ways of speaking English construct social and racial identities in a multilingual context. It raises critical questions around power and ideology and demonstrates the limits of language against the power of race. The book also challenges some long-held concepts underpinning existing research from global North scholarship on English as a lingua franca, e.g., ELF, by a) highlighting its non-neutral nature, and b) showing how race has been neglected as a significant analytical category of discrimination. It offers a lens through which global scholarship on English as a lingua franca can be southernized and decolonized in terms of disciplinary limitations, geopolitical orientations, and a focus on the politics of race that characterize the use of English as a lingua franca all over the world.