Conference Theme: Languages, Cultures and Literacies in the Margins and Contact Zones
Dominant and hegemonic discourses promote asymmetrical relationships of power among languages, cultures and literacies. They create divisions, conflicts and dichotomies by extensively and/or disproportionally valorizing official languages, cultures and literacies while condemning other discourses to exist in the margins or borders without being fully included in mainstream society. Multiple margins can exist, interconnect, and overlap simultaneously, adding to the complexity of relationships of power.
Contact zones are “social spaces where cultures, [languages, literacies, ideologies, identities, etc.] meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today” (Pratt 1991, p. 33). Contact zones are also locations for linguistic, ideological and cultural encounters, where power is contested and negotiated, and struggle occurs. These conflicting spaces produce conflicting ideas on policy and teaching practices regarding languages, cultures and literacies. “Along with rage, incomprehension, and pain, there were exhilarating moments of wonder and revelation, mutual understanding, and new wisdom- the joys of the contact zone” (p. 39).