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Research Talk: "Politics of Language, Politics of Death" by Dr Gerald Roche

Embracing Linguistic Diversity
Language and Nature
research talks
Thursday 16 November 2023, 10-11am GMT

Speaker: Dr Gerald Roche is a senior lecturer in politics at La Trobe University, on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people.

Abstract: In this presentation I will introduce the concept of the necropolitics of language, which seeks to examine the connections between linguistic discrimination and physical, bodily death. The empirical impetus for thinking about these connections includes the existence of language martyrs (people who die to defend their language), the role that linguistic profiling plays in genocide, and the fact that language reclamation improves health and well-being. In seeking to explore how these issues might be linked, I draw on theories of biopolitics developed by Michel Foucault in the late 1970s, and reworked in the early twenty-first century by Achille Mbembe into the concept of necropolitics - the politics of death. Within this theoretical framework, I draw on a variety of literature from linguistics, applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, translation studies, and public health to show how linguistically marginalized populations are exposed to a ‘slow death’ that ultimately serves to promote their violent integration into the homogenizing state.

This talk is co-organised by the Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems (CELCE) and the Embracing Linguistic Diversity satellite.

All welcome. Please register on Eventbrite to attend. If you're part of CELCE or the Embracing Linguistic Diversity satellite, you'll have received a calendar invitation.

Recording is available here.