University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
December 8, 2000
Contact: Juliana Spahr, assistant professor of English, University of
Hawaii at Manoa, 956-3015, firstname.lastname@example.org
|UH grant funds research on significance of multilingual literature|
University of Hawai'i at Manoa Assistant Professor Juliana Spahr was awarded a $7,000 grant from University Connections to conduct research on multilingual literature and its role in the relationships between economic globalism and cultural localism. Multilingual literature has much to contribute to how society thinks about the relationship between the global and the local, Spahr says, because individual works incorporate a range of language practices while retaining and respecting specific local languages.
"Localism arises in direct response to globalism, and both are dependent upon one another," says Spahr, who teaches English. "And yet many cultures new to English acknowledge English as an economic language while retaining a local language for literature."
Spahr says multilingual literature has become more important in the past 15 years as a form of resistance to the spread of English as a world language. This work has received little critical attention, is rarely taught and is rarely included in anthologies.
"Yet these works provoke a unique series of questions about the relationship between globalism, localism and culture," Spahr says. "Can these works encourage the cross-cultural communication that is one component of globalism without drowning out the culturally specific voices that demand localism as forms of survival for unique and site-specific cultural acts?"
Spahr's research project is the byproduct of an issue of Chain, a journal Spahr edited with a team of about 19 international scholars. That issue featured works by about 70 writers who wrote in more than one language.
"I hope this project will bring exposure to an often overlooked part of U.S. literature," Spahr says.
In March, Spahr will give an outreach talk and workshop for secondary school teachers at Bard College in New York. The workshop will look at how multilingual works are pedagogically useful because they address issues of classroom power and its relation to fluency and other types of culturally related knowledge often ignored in traditional classrooms.
Spahr's New Economy Research Grant was awarded by UH University Connections,
which was founded last year to connect entrepreneurs inside and outside
of the University with the resources they need to commercialize knowledge.
The purpose of the New Economy Research Grant is to stimulate research by
UH faculty on the impact of technology and innovation on individuals, societies,
cultures, organizations, markets or governments. The grants are made possible
through a gift to the University from Dr. Pamela Samuelson and Dr. Robert