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Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar
Postcolonial Disjunctures: Variable Understandings of "Mother Tongue" in an Indian Higher Education Institute

The idea of ‘mother tongue’ is ubiquitous in South Asia, both in policy and in people’s common-sense understanding of language. However, in a highly plurilingual environment, the concept of "mother tongue" is far from fixed and is articulated through a range of variable ideological positions that depend on one’s sociolinguistic location at particular moments in time. This talk will explore how students at a national higher education institution in western India, who come from diverse linguistic backgrounds, conceive of the idea of ‘mother tongue’ as they navigate (many for the first time) English-dominant education and manage their relations with peers from different regions. In the talk, it is argued that the sociolinguistic milieu of the higher education institute affords possibilities for identification that are different from conventional understandings of "mother tongue." Within such a milieu, spaces of “sociolinguistic disjuncture” (Meek 2010), where more creative linguistic practices result, can emerge.

**The ​research for this talk is done in collaboration with Chaise Ladousa (Hamilton College) and Christina Davis (Western Illinois University)


Nishaant Choksi received his PhD from University of Michigan in 2014 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India. His research interests include the study of script, writing, language ideology, education, semiotics, and indigenous communities in South Asia. He has published in journals such as Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Language and Society, and Modern Asian Studies. His monograph, Graphic Politics in eastern India: Script and the Quest for Autonomy has recently been published by Bloomsbury.

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/93936175675?pwd=QVY5QURxVGdRYnhrVDVCY1pRVElFQT09

Meeting ID: 939 3617 5675
Password: 300995

Live broadcast will be available in Room CRT-7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU.