Join us for this year's Silver Medal Award ceremony and lecture! Guest speaker, Chantal Tetreault, Associate Professor, Anthropology Department, Michigan State University will be presenting a lecture titled:
WHAT IS ARABIC GOOD FOR? Future Directions and Current Challenges of Arabic Language Educational Reform in France
Why have reforms for Arabic language instruction in French public schools been repeatedly proposed and repeatedly failed? Currently only 13,000 students or 0.2% of all middle and high school students who take a second language in France have access to Arabic, despite it being the second most widely spoken language with an estimated 4 million speakers. This talk addresses the political, cultural, and educational stakes in the current public French debate about the value of Arabic.
Using theories and methods from linguistic and cultural anthropology, the presentation will investigate the types of discourses, institutions/institutional gatekeepers, and practitioners that comprise the Arabic educational landscape in contemporary France to analyze the ways that Arabic is taught and not taught in France. The educational landscape of Arabic language instruction in France is vast and complex, with ties to a colonial past and a post-colonial present. These relationships continue to play out in terms of France’s outsized role in economic, political, and cultural affairs in the Maghreb and the Middle East more generally. However, despite clear geo-political stakes in the MENA region and in the Arabic language, France has repeatedly failed to make Arabic a national educational priority unlike other European Union countries.
This talk will contextualize the French cultural impasse on Arabic language educational reform in terms of the rise of right-wing Islamophobic political discourses. The importance of these public conversations and failed proposed educational reforms goes beyond the scope of language instruction to entail changing understandings of French identity in the context of immigration, globalization, and post-coloniality.
Dr. Chantal Tetreault is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist at Michigan State University whose scholarship has focused on issues of migration and social change in France. Tetreault’s past research addressed the interactional styles whereby French adolescents of Algerian descent construct and express their emergent identities as Arab Muslims and French youth. This research is showcased in her 2015 book, a cultural and linguistic ethnography entitled, Transcultural Teens: Performing Youth Identities in French Cités. Dr. Tetreault’s current research, funded by a Fulbright award, analyzes national debates about Arabic language educational reform in France.
Parking is available in C Lot, payable by credit card.
Reception to follow in Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology Lounge, PAS-3005.
No registration required. ALL WELCOME!
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