Universiteit Leiden

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European and Arab linguistic endeavours and exchanges in interwar Europe (1898-1948): Teaching and learning Arabic

Thursday 9 June 2022 - Friday 10 June 2022
Leiden University Library and online via zoom (see below)
2nd floor, Vossius room

Language teaching and learning were crucial to European national and individual enterprises in the Levant, and ‘Oriental languages’ teachers (as they were termed prior to WW2) were fundamental in these processes. European state nationalisms influenced and increasingly competed with one another by promoting their language and culture abroad, via both private and governmental actors. In parallel, learning Arabic became more prominent. Language was at the heart of the cultural agendas of transnational religious actor (the Vatican, for example, supported the Arabic language of indigenous Christian communities, with the creation, in 1917, of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Congregation for the Oriental communities) as a tool and a marker of identity.  The first half of the 20th century also corresponded with the emergence of new media; language was thought of as a cultural product to be exported via these new media and via and into new cultural spaces, such as cafés, theatres, cabarets and cinemas. 

There remain, however, many blind spots in the history of linguistic thought and practices, including the forgotten or neglected voices of Arabic learning and teaching in Europe. This workshop aims at revisiting this aspect of linguistic encounter, its vision, profiles, priorities, trajectories and practices, by considering topics such as:

  • The profile of indigenous Arabic teachers in Europe (in the schools of Oriental languages, but also elsewhere),
  • The role of the Arab diaspora from the Levant established in Europe,
  • The linguistic impact of Arab diaspora established in Europe back to the Levant,
  • Arabic teachers’ trajectories (Arabs and Europeans),
  • Curricula, materials, overview of textbooks,
  • How societies and ideologies are reflected in learner dictionaries, vocabularies, and phrasebooks,
  • The role of language in the cultural agendas of European states in the Levant.

Online attendance

ID de réunion : 658 2642 6436
Code secret : Tj*my9@r

Programme and Abstracts

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