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Anthropology Working Papers Series: “What is Arabic Good For? Future Directions and Current Challenges of Arabic Language Educational Reform in France” Dr. Chantal Tetreault
February 24 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Please join us Monday, February 24 when Dr. Chantal Tetreault (MSU Department of Anthropology) will present an Anthropology Working Paper entitled “What is Arabic Good For? Future Directions and Current Challenges of Arabic Language Educational Reform in France”.
Time: 3:00-4:00pm, Monday, February 24, 2020
Location: C103 McDonel Hall
Currently only 0.2% of all middle and high school students who take a second language in France have access to Arabic, despite it being the second most widely spoken language. This talk addresses the political, cultural, and educational stakes in the current public French debate about the value of Arabic. The presentation will investigate the types of discourses, institutional gatekeepers, and practitioners that comprise the Arabic educational landscape in France to analyze the ways that Arabic is taught and not taught. The educational landscape of Arabic language instruction in France is complex, with ties to a colonial past and a post-colonial present. These relationships continue to play out in terms of France’s outsized role in economic, political, and cultural affairs in the Maghreb and the Middle East. However, despite clear geo-political stakes in the MENA region and the Arabic language, France has repeatedly failed to make Arabic a national educational priority unlike other EU countries. This talk will contextualize the French cultural impasse on Arabic language educational reform in terms of the rise of right-wing Islamophobic political discourses. The importance of these public conversations and failed proposed educational reforms goes beyond the scope of language instruction to entail changing understandings of French identity in the context of immigration, globalization, and post-coloniality.