Researching Multilingually in an Era of Neo-Orientalism


Marshall 491
845 N. Park Ave Room 491
Tucson , AZ


Fri, 04/08/2016 - 3:35pm

David Gramling is an Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona, he publishes regularly on multilingual film and literature, Turkish German migration and literary history, theoretical approaches to monolingualism, foreign language pedagogy, gender and LGBT studies, and the medical humanities. With Deniz Göktürk, Anton Kaes, and Andreas Langenohl, David is co-editor of two major sourcebooks on migration and multiculturalism in Germany since 1955: Germany in Transit (University of California Press, 2007) and Transit Deutschland (Konstanz University Press, 2011). David's next book, entitled The Invention of Monolingualism, will be published in October 2016 with Bloomsbury. He is currently a Translation Fellow with the National Endowment for the Arts for his collaboration with Aron Aji (University of Iowa) on a collection of the poems of Murathan Mungan, entitled The Heart's East.

Co-Sponsored by CMES

Questions for Discussion


§  What is monolingualism and how does it inform research methods, formats, disciplines, and concepts?

§  What effects does monolingualism (as a social phenomenon or research method) have on the subjects we research and seek to understand—whether those be historical, sociological, textual, anthropological, political, or aesthetic?

§  What are the pitfalls, pleasures, and benefits of researching multilingually?

§  Under what conditions is translation itself a complex research activity, rather then a mere instrument for rendering data legible / communicable?

§  How do Orientalism, Neo-Orientalism, and other forms of epistemic reification thrive on monolingualism and/or certain kinds of “reactionary multilingualism” (Moore 2015) or “soft multilingualism” (Noorani 2013)?

§  What kind of structuring role is played by the academic lingua franca of English?


Preparatory Reading:

Gramling, David. 2014. “What is Turkish-German Studies Up Against? Thigmotactics and Occidentalism.” Colloquiua Germanica. 44.4: 382–395.

Gramling, David. 2014. “The Invention of Monolingualism from the Spirit of Systematic Transposability.” Philologie und Mehrsprachigkeit [Philology and Multilingualism], edited by Georg Mein und Till Dembeck. Winter Verlag. 113-134.

Moore, Robert. 2015. “From revolutionary monolingualism to reactionary multilingualism: Top-down discourses of linguistic diversity in Europe, 1794-present.”Language and Communication 44: 19–30.

Noorani, Yaseen. 2013. “‘Hard and Soft Multilingualism.” Critical Multilingualism Studies1.2: 7–28.


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