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Is an Antiracist and Decolonizing Applied Linguistics Possible?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 June 2020

Suhanthie Motha*
Affiliation:
University of Washington
*
*Corresponding author; E-mail: smotha@uw.edu

Abstract

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?

Type
Short Paper
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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