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Humanities Colloquium- Brook Bolander (JF, English Linguistics): Language and the construction of the transnational Ismaili community

When Nov 24, 2014
from 12:15 PM to 01:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to university members
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Literature on language and globalisation has recently begun to tackle questions of how and where transnational communities are constructed. Such discussions often focus on the concepts of mobility and migration, since mobility (often between nation states) is seen to give rise to transnational spaces, which themselves emerge as intricately related to particular language ideologies and practices. In this paper, I wish to explore facets of the relationship between language and the construction of a transnational community by focusing on a community for which movement and migration are not prerequisites to belonging.

To do so, I will explore the role of language for the transnational Ismaili community, which consists of between 10–15 million individuals living in over 25 countries around the world, and led by the Aga Khan IV. I will thereby particularly focus on the role of the community’s official language – English – and on Ismaili educational institutions where Ismailis from different backgrounds come into contact. To exemplify the various structures and resources which are used to construct the community, I will work with data collected during ethnographic fieldwork in Northern Pakistan and Eastern Tajikistan, and online, and with official documents.