“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Call for Papers: The Erasure and Revitalization of Indigenous Cultures and Languages (Special Issue)
21 Feb 2023
Language is a core component of human rights and is inextricably linked to culture and identity. It is critical in allowing communities to preserve and transmit their knowledge, values, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression, history, traditions, and memory to subsequent generations in order to help construct their future (UNESCO, 2022). Despite the immense value of languages, UNESCO reports that the majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages are endangered, with an overwhelming majority of these being Indigenous languages (2022). This is not a natural phenomenon but rather is due to a number of processes some of which are informed by genocidal ideologies.
Although cultural destruction is not included in the UN Genocide Convention, Raphael Lemkin argued that the attempt to annihilate a group’s culture must be considered “as important as the physical annihilation of its members” (Facing History and Ourselves, 2019, para. 3). The destruction of Indigenous languages, or linguicide, has had and continues to have catastrophic effects on Indigenous cultures, identities, knowledges, and the overall well-being of Indigenous peoples and communities. While there has been growing international commitment to raising awareness about and protecting Indigenous Languages in recent years, as demonstrated by the International Year of Indigenous Languages (2019), and the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), research and publication on this subject remains limited.
With this in mind, Genocide Studies International (GSI), wishes to dedicate a special issue to the topic of Indigenous language erasure and revitalization with the objective of raising awareness around this issue from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. The editors seek submissions from scholars across disciplines that contextualize Indigenous language erasure as it relates to human rights, conflict, exploitation, colonialism, racism, bigotry, sexism, oppression, and globalization. Manuscripts that explore gaps, challenges, and opportunities for action in protecting and revitalizing Indigenous languages are also welcomed. This special issue aims to bring together a collection of papers that capture a broad cross-section of concepts, experiences, stories, and issues pertaining to the theme so as to inform policy, action, and best practices on Indigenous language protection and revitalization across scales, and geographical and disciplinary boundaries.
Paper submission deadlines (early submissions encouraged):
September 1, 2023
Submissions can be made here. Authors may wish to view Genocide Studies International’s submission guidelines.
All other inquiries can be directed to Megan Reid at email@example.com.
Facing History and Ourselves. (2019, October 16). Cultural Genocide.
UNESCO. (2022). State of the Art of Indigenous Language Research: A Collection of Selected Research Papers.