The Department of Urban Education at Rutgers University-Newark and the Department of English and Humanities at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) jointly organized a Zoom session on November 6, 2023, to launch the Special Issue of Critical Inquiry in Language Studies (CILS). The Special Issue, focusing on “Centering Southern Perspectives in Translanguaging Research,” is guest-edited by Dr. Zhongfeng Tian from Rutgers University–Newark and Dr. Abu Saleh Mohammad Rafi from ULAB.
The event featured prominent figures in the field of translanguaging, including Professor Li Wei from University College London, UK, and some of the contributing scholars. Dr. Zhongfeng Tian opened the session by emphasizing the need for a dynamic and fluid understanding of language as a social practice, transcending traditional linguistic categories. He pointed out that translanguaging is a multifaceted concept encompassing practice, theory, and pedagogy, leading to increased metacognitive and metalinguistic awareness and a heightened awareness of language's role in power dynamics.
Dr. Abu Saleh Mohammad Rafi focused on the importance of centering southern perspectives in translanguaging research. He highlighted the exponential growth in translanguaging research and its relevance in addressing issues of marginalization and sociocultural challenges faced by the Global South, such as capitalism, consumerism, and silence.
Saskia Van Viegen, Editor-in-Chief of the journal and an Assistant Professor at York University, provided an overview of the Special Issue of Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, discussing its aims and scopes. CILS is a peer-reviewed journal that explores applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, language policy, literacy studies, and education, with a focus on qualitative, critical, pedagogical, and emergent paradigms.
Li Wei, the Director and Dean of the UCL Institute of Education, spoke as the Discussant of the Special Issue. He emphasized the special issue's goal of challenging the colonial approach to research in applied linguistics. He hoped there would be more contributions, data, theoretical advancements, and methodologies to enrich the field.
Following these introductory remarks, the contributors to the issue spoke about their papers. Lara-Stephanie Krause-Alzaidi, an Assistant Professor at the University of Leipzig, presented her paper on "Relanguaging Translingual Writing In a Khayelitshan Primary School." She discussed problematic conceptual binaries and presented an alternative spatial perspective on re-languaging, focusing on heterogeneous classroom repertoires.
Jiajia Eve Liu, a faculty member at the City University of Macau, discussed her paper on implementing translanguaging pedagogy in higher education. She shared her research question, methodology, and findings, highlighting the challenges students face in adopting translanguaging strategies.
Dr. Abu Saleh Mohammad Rafi and other facilitators discussed the paper titled "Translanguaging in Higher Education: Experiences and Recommendations of International Graduate Students from the Global South" authored by Shakina Rajendram, Wenyangzi Shi, and Justine Jun. They presented research questions, context, methods, analysis, and recommendations, emphasizing the importance of incorporating translanguaging into course curricula and resources.
The interactive session concluded with Dr. Shamsad Mortuza, Professor and Special Advisor to the Board of Trustees, ULAB, offering closing remarks, and expressing gratitude to the guest speakers and authors. He highlighted the session's goals of promoting diversity, fluidity in translanguaging, and decolonizing research methods in multilingual settings, thus concluding the session.
The program can be viewed on the DEH YouTube Channel.
Report by Nabila Faiza Islam (201013115)