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CUC2022: Otvaranje u zatvorenom svijetu - postdigitalna znanost i obrazovanje / CUC2022: Opening up in a closed world - postdigital science and education

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Maps as method in critical applied linguistics

Whether “postdigital” is an adjective of epistemics or of circumstance, it invites a reconsideration how we participate in disciplinary knowledge. Stepping beyond the digital and its binary code, its microprocessors, hyper-speed, synthetic neural networks, and invisibility (Negroponte, 1998) is, for us, a step through. It entails a remembering and re-acquaintance with pre-digital ways of being and knowing that embraces the complex, the organic, the material, and the visible; while retaining recent digital fluencies. For the field of critical applied linguistics, aspects of this postdigital orientation resemble language scholarship that links the immateriality of semiotics with the material and social world (Pennycook, 2021). Studies that connect spoken, signed, written, and embodied language with power relations and subjectivities must operate on multiple planes and in multiple directions (Kubota & Miller, 2017). With this in mind, we lean into research that theorises language and sign as relational phenomena (Engman & Hermes, 2021; Streeck et al., 2011; Toohey, 2018), and we look for new ways to make sense of knowledge production with them. Postdigital research (Jandric, MacKenzie & Knox, 2022) invites us to think slowly, visibly, and materially about complexity in response to Pennycook’s (2021) question for critical applied linguists: “If education is always a social, cultural, and political space, what room is there for change and resistance?” (p. 38). In this presentation, we bring postdigital research into contact with critical applied linguistics, viewing the encounter as an invitation to play with representation of knowledge by thinking with analog semiotic practices of map-making. As visual representations of spatial relationships, maps require the maker to coordinate icons, color, scale, and text (among other features), and to make decisions about what to leave out. Maps are typically viewed as extensions of knowledge of geography (Papáy, 2018), representing physical and political features of place and space. Yet, maps are texts—semiotic representations or ‘signifiers’ (de Saussure, 2006) of real-world phenomena; meaning that disentangling maps from physical geography might allow us to ascribe spatiality to non-geographic or ‘placeless’ phenomena such as experiences, feelings, and knowledge. Drawing on radical and critical cartographies (Crampton & Krygier, 2006; Sletto et al., 2020) and thinking with feminist design ideals (D’Ignazio, 2017) about representations of experience and desire in education, we document and analyse processes of collective, experiential map-making in language education contexts at 3 universities in the US, UK, and Finland. We ask:

What aspects of participation in language education emerge as salient in the drawing of collective spatiotemporal experiences into maps? How does ‘spatialising’ lived experience through map-making contribute to understandings of the relationships between educational practices, ideologies, and structures?

We use fieldnotes, pictures, and reflection to make sense of our positionalities as teacher educators and members of higher education institutions. We aim to create maps that provide navigation through the perils of participation in the academy (Cushing-Leubner et al., 2021) as critical applied linguists actively engaged in ‘marking trails’ for language teachers. By examining map-making as process and product, this project has implications for how we conceptualise the relationship between learning and institutions, and for postdigital constructions of language, sign, and space.

References Crampton, J. W., & Krygier, J. (2006). An introduction to critical cartography. ACME: An E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 4(1), 11-33. Cushing-Leubner, J., Engman, M. M., Ennser-Kananen, J., & Pettitt, N. (2021). Imperial straightening devices in disciplinary choices of academic knowledge production. Journal of Language, Culture & Society. de Saussure, F. (2006). Writings in general linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. D’Ignazio, C. (23 January 2017). What would feminist data visualization look like? MIT Civic Media. ​Engman, M. M., & Hermes, M. (2021). Land as interlocutor: A study of Ojibwe learner language on and with naturally occurring 'materials'. Modern Language Journal, 105(S1), 86-105. Jandrić, P., MacKenzie, A., & Knox, J. (2022). Postdigital Research: Genealogies, Challenges, and Future Perspectives. Postdigital Science and Education. Kubota, R. & Miller, E. R. (2017). Re-examining and re-envisioning criticality in language studies: Theories and praxis. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 14(2-3), 129-157. Negroponte, N. (1998). Beyond digital. Wired, 12. Accessed 10 February 2022. Papáy, G., (2018). Max Eckert and the foundations of modern cartographic praxis. In A. J. Kent & P. Vujakovic (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography (pp. 9-28). New York, NY: Routledge. Pennycook, A. (2021). Critical applied linguistics: A critical re-introduction (2nd edition). London: Routledge. Sletto, B., Bryan, J., Wagner, A., & Hale, C. (Eds.). (2020). Radical cartographies: Participatory mapmaking in Latin America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Streeck, J., Goodwin, C., & LeBaron, C. (Eds.). (2011). Embodied interaction: Language and body in the material world. Cambridge University Press. Toohey, K. (2018). The onto-epistemologies of new materialism: Implications for applied linguistics. Applied Linguistics, 1-21. doi:10.1093/applin/amy046

Mel M. Engman
Queen’s University, Belfast, UK

Jenna Cushing-Leubner

Johanna Ennser-Kananen
University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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