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Seminar series multilingualism kick-off: The hidden drivers of academic English (28 November 2022)

On Monday November 28th, Ghent University invites you for a first hybrid keynote of a seminar series on Multilingualism, organised in collaboration with the ENLIGHT partners. Prof. Kristina Hultgren, Professor of Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at The Open University in the United Kingdom, will speak about: "The hidden drivers of English as an academic language in Europe: Retheorizing the rise of English as an outcome of higher education governance reforms". Your host will be prof. Stef Slembrouck (Ghent University).


Since at least the turn of the millennium, Europe has seen a remarkable rise in English as an academic language. To date, this rise has been attributed mainly, and somewhat elusively, to supra-national drivers such as internationalization, the Bologna Process and intensified global competition and collaboration. This keynote retheorizes the rise of English as an academic language in Europe as an outcome of ‘steering at a distance’ reforms. Predicated on a neoliberal philosophy of enhancing organizational performance and competition across the sector, ‘steering at a distance’ is an approach to governance that increases the autonomy of higher education institutions while putting into place extensive accountability mechanisms. I argue that political reform processes centred on ‘steering at a distance’, and emanating from the level of the nation state, may have played a role in paving the way for the rise of English as an academic language or, at the very least, created a climate in which it can emerge and thrive.

Date: Monday 28 November from 11 am tot 1 pm CET
Location: You can choose whether you will attend on campus or online. On campus will be in Auditorium M, Jozef Plateaustraat 22, 9000 Gent. The online invitation link will be sent to you after registration.
Registration: Register here before 25th of November

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