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ALC Public Lecture - Meat, Guns, and God: Sentimental Ideologies in America: A Webinar with Dr Christopher Jenks

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Venue: Online

The privileging of urban spaces in sociolinguistics scholarship reflects an understanding that social structures, such national identities, are in a state of constant flux.  This line of research—in investigating for example culturally diverse communities living London—is often used to question the boundaries between language, culture, and nation.  While such research is important and impactful, the theoretical constructs that are used to conduct so-called urban studies, such as superdiversity, establish an empirical agenda that delegitimizes—both socially and academically—belief systems and communities located outside of this poststructural curiosity.

To address this potential issue, the current paper uses the term ruralscapes to account for, and make sense of, the semiotic and linguistic spaces in rural areas.  As a theoretical construct, ruralscapes symbolize the social conditions of life located outside of heavily urbanized areas.  To this end, the paper examines how notions of nationhood, as constructed and circulated in rural areas of the United States, are based on dated, and perhaps even outdated, sentimental ideologies.  Using critical discourse analysis and drawing from linguistic landscape scholarship, the study explores how sentimental ideologies underpin political discourse in the United States, including engaging in a national dialogue regarding a contentious issue, supporting a political candidate, and imagining a collective American identity.  In other words, sentimental ideologies are used to transmit and interpret competing and sometimes contradictory social, political, and national messages.  The paper ends by exploring how sentimental ideologies are relevant to ongoing paradigmatic shifts in sociolinguistics.

Christopher Jenks is a discourse analyst presently working in Denmark. He has also worked in the United States, England, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Christopher specializes in the study of language in society and is particularly interested in the political and cultural implications of the global spread of English. His research interests include online communication, intercultural encounters, political discourse, and identity construction. He is the editor and author of nine books.

Please join this talk online using this Collaborate link on 20 November at 18:00.

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