The first part of the course offers a broad picture of linguistic diversity and cultural preservation, traces the evolution of language rights and explores the historical connections of such evolution with nation states, warfare, and globalization. The second part of the course surveys international and national legal regimes in the protection of language rights, covering both minority language rights and official language rights, and their manifestations as negative and positive rights. We will examine how some of these rights are realized in the domains of education, legal processes and public services across jurisdictions, as well as the limitations of their reach. The third part of the course focuses on the philosophical and moral basis of language rights, addresses sources of contention, and queries the concept of ‘linguistic justice’. Such discussions provide a lens through which tensions between liberalism and diversity may be probed.
In-class debate, 1st semester of 2018/2019