What Is Modern Languages Research ? Journée d’étude

Organisateur : Christine Lorre-Johnston

Room 104, Senate House
Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

A pilot workshop to discuss what constitutes Modern Languages as a disciplinary field and the defining features of Modern Languages research as practised in the UK.
The workshop continues the strategic objectives of several prominent studies and reports, initiated in 2008 with the post-RAE LLAS Subject Centre’s ‘Research Review in Modern Languages’ ; Michael Worton’s 2009 review ‘Modern Foreign Language Provision in Higher Education in England’ ; the 2011 IGRS-MHRA Debate ‘The Future of UK Modern Languages’ ; the British Academy’s four-year programme launched in 2011, resulting in reports and initiatives such as ‘Lost for Words. The Need for Languages in UK Diplomacy and Security’, 2013 ; ‘Languages : The State of the Nation’, 2013 ; ‘Multilingual Britain’, 2013 ; ‘Born Global. Rethinking Language Policy for 21stC Britain’, 2014, and the Language Festival launched in partnership with The Guardian in 2014 ; the ‘Manifesto for Languages’ by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, 2014, and the AHRC’s strategic priority to articulate the value and importance of language-led research, as demonstrated in its Translating Cultures theme and its Open World Research Initiative.
The workshop will provide a space for informed discussion and debate among Modern Languages researchers based in the UK. Modern Languages researchers from other European countries, with different and distinctive disciplinary traditions and methodologies, will be invited to provide a comparative perspective and to give an external view on the specificities of UK Modern Languages research. Similarly, speakers from cognate disciplines such as English, history and linguistics will provide contrasting perspectives
In the 2014 REF, Modern Languages research was assessed as a single disciplinary field. The proposed workshop aims to reflect on this experience and asks (following Worton) : What is Modern Languages research and scholarship ? How might Modern Languages researchers inspire the next generation ?
Speakers will give short, ten minute presentations which will be followed by open questions and comments from those attending the workshop. The morning session will focus on disciplinarity/ interdisciplinarity, and the afternoon on the importance for Modern Languages of research in translation and the translingual.

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