Follow-Up to AAAL's Summer Webinar Series

In summer 2020, the American Association of Applied Linguistics organized a series of webinars on the topics of race, justice, indigenous language revitalization, and critical applied linguistics. In this section, we provide information about these webinars and the panelists. If you are a AAAL member, you can access the webinar recordings through your member login. They are also linked at the bottom of the page. 

Webinar #1: "Engagement in Praxis in Critical Applied Linguistics"

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Ryuko Kubota

Ryuko Kubota is a Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where she teaches applied linguistics and teacher education. Her research draws on critical approaches to second language education, focusing on race, culture, and language ideologies. Her publications appear in such journals as Applied LinguisticsCritical Inquiry in Language Studies, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Journal of Second Language Writing, TESOL Quarterly, and World Englishes. She is a co-editor of Race, culture, and identities in second language education: Exploring critically engaged practice (Routledge 2009). She has also published actively in Japanese.

Professor Kubota has kindly agreed to provide a summary of her webinar, as well as a message to any graduate student who is interested in getting involved to create more diversity and equity in our field

Summary: "In applied linguistics research, examining discourses and ideologies underlying various kinds of difference and inequity has gained popularity. In addition to this orientation of the 'recognition politics,' there has been a growing interest in examining the 'redistribution politics' of socioeconomic disparities that reproduce differences and inequities. Drawing on some concrete examples of language education, this presentation unpacks discourses/ideologies and political economy behind these examples through the bivalent approach. It also proposes a trivalent approach by adding another tool of 'praxis' for achieving actual transformation."


Message: "Regardless of your background or research interest, all of you, as future applied linguists, carry enormous power that can either reproduce or transform the field. While it is so easy to become complicit with the existing system of meritocracy, competition, and self interest, radical transformation requires courage, commitment, and allyship. I hope you will join our collective effort to envision and create more diverse, equitable, and just community of applied linguists."

Webinar #2: "Race, Racial Justice, and indigenous language revitalization"

In July of 2020, Uju Anya (The Pennsylvania State University), Onowa McIvor (University of Victoria), and Suhanthie Motha (University of Washington) discussed the role of race in the field of applied linguistics. Each panelist presented an overview of an article they had previously published in Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (ARAL), an official journal of AAAL. The webinar was organized by the AAAL Committee for Online Education and Outreach, and moderated by Marda Rose (The Bishop's School). Below, you will find the titles, abstracts, and links to the three panelists' articles. 

“This article examines the history of African Americans in the academic study of world languages and presents an overview of inquiry on the topic. The paper focuses on the impact of race in second language acquisition (SLA) as exemplified through the experience of black students in language education and study abroad. It discusses objectives, policies, instructional priorities and strategies, conditions, and materials related to how black students have in the past, are currently, or should be engaged in language learning. The article examines the path forged by African Americans in world language study, signals gaps in the present body of knowledge, and suggests future directions for investigations into this important topic in the field of applied linguistics and SLA for ARAL's 40th anniversary.”

"Damages done to Indigenous languages occurred due to colonial forces, some of which continue to this day, and many believe efforts to revive them should involve more than Indigenous peoples alone. Therefore, the need for learning Indigenous languages as 'additional' languages is a relatively new societal phenomenon and Indigenous language revitalization (ILR) an emerging academic field of study. As the ILR body of literature has developed, it has become clear that this work does not fit neatly into any single academic discipline. While there have been substantial contributions from linguistics and education, the study and recovery of Indigenous languages are necessarily self-determined and self-governing. Also, due to the unique set of circumstances, contexts, and, therefore, solutions needed, it is argued that this discipline is separate from, yet connected to, others. Applied linguists hold specific knowledge and skills that could be extended to ILR toward great gains. This paper explores current foci within ILR, especially concepts, theories, and areas of study that connect applied linguistics and Indigenous language learning. The intention of this paper is to consider commonalities, differences, current and future interests for shared consideration of the potential of collaborations, and partnerships between applied linguistics and ILR scholars."

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“This article argues for an uncovering of the multitude of ways in which applied linguistics has functioned as an important and effective vehicle for White supremacy and empire, with its disciplinary roots embedded in assumptions about racial inequalities and racial hierarchies and, equally importantly, the concealment of these forms of racial discrimination which often manifest as innocuous language practices. In particular, the notion of objectivity has played a guiding role in reinscribing Whiteness in much applied linguistics theorizing and research within a global context of inequitable racial power and forms of knowledge production and transmission that are steeped in colonial reasoning. In this piece, the author considers what antiracism and decolonization mean within applied linguistics and asks: Is the discipline of applied linguistics irretrievably rooted in an ontology of race and empire? Or is an antiracist and decolonizing applied linguistics possible?”

Webinar #3: "applied linguistics in the public realm: collaboration for justice"

In August of 2020, John Baugh (Washington University in St. Louis), Maneka Deanna Brooks (Texas State University), and Glenn Martínez (The Ohio State University) discussed the roles that applied linguists can play in co-creating a more just society. Each panelist addressed these five questions: 

  1. How would you summarize the objective of your work in one or two sentences, and how did you become interested in this topic?

  2. How do you see your own positionality in relation to this work? What are the specific ways that you have collaborated and built relationships with individuals and groups through your engaged research/work?

  3. Why is language an important part of your work? How does being an applied linguist make your contribution unique?

  4. Highlight one success and one challenge you have experienced in focusing on language-related aspects of social justice.

  5. What advice would you give to scholars and practitioners interested in applied linguistics for social justice?

This webinar was organized by the AAAL Public Affairs and Engagement Committee and was moderated by Netta Avineri (Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS)). 

John Baugh the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. He attended Temple University as an undergraduate, majoring in Speech, Rhetoric, and Communication, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is best known for formulating the concept of linguistic profiling and has conducted research on that topic in the United States, Brazil, the Caribbean, England, France, and South Africa. That research was variously supported by The Ford Foundation, The National Science Foundation, The United States Department of State, The United States Department of Justice, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Most of his research is devoted to finding ways to use linguistic science to advance equality and to improve the human condition globally. His most recent book is titled, Linguistics in Pursuit of Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He is a past president of the American Dialect Society, and currently serves on the Board of Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Maneka Deanna Brooks an associate professor of reading education at Texas State University.  Dr. Brooks’ research agenda centers on everyday educational practices that impact the educational trajectories of bilingual adolescents. In addition, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on the intersection of bilingualism, race, and literacy. Dr. Brooks’ work has been published in the Journal of Literacy ResearchResearch in the Teaching of EnglishLanguage and Education, and other venues. She is the author of Transforming Literacy Education for Long-Term English Learners: Recognizing Brilliance in the Undervalued (Routledge, 2020). Dr. Brooks earned her PhD in Educational Linguistics from Stanford University Graduate School of Education, a M.A. in Secondary Bilingual Education and B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from Loyola Marymount University.

Glenn Martínez professor of Hispanic Linguistics at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on language access in health care for Spanish-speaking populations and on the relationship between language and health. He has pursued projects that seek to affirm and leverage community-based assets and strengths in promoting social justice among language minority patients and families. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the US Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is author of Spanish in Health Care: Policy Practice and Pedagogy in Latino Health (Routledge, 2020) and co-author with Robert Train of Tension and Contention in Language Education for Latinx in the United States (Routledge, 2020).