BHUBANESWAR: A three-day international conference on ‘De-centring English Studies: Studying Literature in Global South’ on Thursday started a deliberation on the implications of studying English literature in non-English speaking environment in an era of globalisation.
Author and Professor of English, New York University, USA, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan gave a talk on ‘Across Words: The Affective Politics of Learning An (other) Language’ on the first day of the conference.
Rajan said several books of extraordinary interest have appeared in the literary world that explicitly address the issue of learning a language other than one’s own. The writers are pre-occupied with multiple implications - the possibilities, challenges, pleasures, politics and effective resonance - of crossing linguistic worlds.
In distinct ways, each of these works also signals the emergence of the global south as a key site of contemporary cultural production, she added.
Addressing the inaugural session, Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University Ashok Kumar Das said English has become a dominant language across the globe in the new millennium. While people are becoming more consumeristic, the general perception is that knowing the language will ensure employment in the job market.
In his welcome address, Professor and Head of English Department Himansu Sekhar Mohapatra said apart from addressing the question of the viability of English language in non-English speaking areas, the conference will lay stress on host of issues including the implications of English studies in global south (mostly Third World countries).
Chairman of PG Council, Utkal University, Ranjan Bal, Prof Ellen Handler Spitz of Maryland University and Paul St-Pierre of University of Montreal, Canada also spoke.
This is the fourth international conference organised by the Post Graduate Department of English, Utkal University.