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University of Portsmouth
Decolonizing English(es): which statues must fall and why?

Debates are being held about decolonization and on how to deal with anything associated with Empire and its violence, from what is very visible – e.g., urban landscapes, museums – to what is less visible, e.g., the curriculum. The approach to visible imperial markers is essentially one of removal: statues of slave traders, stolen artefacts, etc. The approach to the decolonization of the curriculum is more complex as it involves dynamics of knowledge production/diffusion, the dominance of a certain view of the world and the suppression of others. As knowledge and worldviews are expressed largely through language, and as English is currently the most dominant language, it makes sense to discuss ways in which English itself can/should be decolonized. And this is what I do in this talk. Given that the status of English as a ‘global’ language is deeply embedded in Empire, oppression, suppression and inequality, the questions that I ask are: what does it mean to decolonize English? How has it been done so far? What else can be done? My answers will not be definite, but they will offer food for thought.


Mario Saraceni is a Reader in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Portsmouth, UK. He previously taught at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand. His main academic interest is in the area of the ideologies, representations and roles of English in the world. He has worked extensively in this field, and his publications include The Relocation of English (Palgrave, 2010) and World Englishes: A Critical Analysis (Bloomsbury, 2015, winner of the 2016 BAAL Book Prize). He has recently edited the Bloomsbury World Englishes three-volume series: Paradigms, Ideologies, Pedagogies. 

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/91471164097?pwd=VmdFVnBZUnhXL0VZWjQ3WWZVNGNtUT09

Meeting ID: 914 7116 4097
Password: 383261

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