Embracing Diversity in Canada (by Narjes Hashemi)

We welcome guest blogger Narjes Hashemi back for her second BILD post (her first can be found here). Narjes is a PhD candidate in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Her research interests encompass social justice education, educational equity, education in diverse societies, development education, and the integration of immigrants and refugees in Canada. In addition to her academic pursuits, Narjes is a dedicated mother to a 2.5-year-old daughter. Currently, she is immersed in a doctoral project investigating the Educational Trajectories of Afghan Refugee Youth in Montreal and Vancouver.

Canada is often seen as a beautiful mosaic of different cultures and languages, a place where everyone can come together in harmony. But, as with any society, the reality is much more complex than that. John Porter’s ground-breaking work on the “vertical mosaic” showed that there are layers and hierarchies in Canadian society that reveal unequal distribution of power, privilege, and socio-economic status among different groups (Porter, 1960). This means that there are intricate social hierarchies that exist in Canada, which can be hard to see at first glance. Drawing from my own experiences, I want to shed some light on just one aspect of this complex reality.

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Tìr is teanga (Land and language): Language as sensory energy (by Dr Paul Meighan-Chiblow)

This blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text. 

In the past few years, I have been on a Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) reclamation journey. Gàidhlig is an endangered Indigenous language in Alba (Scotland). The reclamation journey has not been easy and is marked by contradictions, tensions, and hopes. The causes of Gàidhlig endangerment—such as land dispossession, destructive policies, and classroom violence —have influenced the journey. Embodied memories, trauma, grieving, refusal, and healing have all been associated with the reclamation process (see Lane, 2023, for more on language reclamation as an emancipatory, yet sometimes painful and silencing experience). In this BILD blog post, I will share some of my experiences and what language and reclamation mean for me.

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Landguaging with plants: The Dandelion Project (by Rhonda Chung)

A splash of water. 
A cocoon of dirt. 
That spark of germination that sets us afoot.   

Spiraling through the ground. 
Arms unfolding wide. 
Legs tunneling through the dark of time.   

Rooting in place. 
Drinking the sun. 
Plants teach us just how wild we can become. 

The language of plants has been capturing our imaginations since we first evolved onto land. Rocks are our 3-billion-year-old ancestors, moving in a time and space that is inconceivable to our 200-thousand-year-old imaginations. Plants are our second oldest teachers, outpacing us by 500 million years.

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Salman Rushdie and the chutnification of language (by Dr Mela Sarkar)

This week’s blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.

chutney (noun): a mixture containing fruit, spices, sugar, and vinegar…(Cambridge English Dictionary)

…a willingness to use untranslated words from another language….This was the way we spoke English in Bombay, sprinkling it with Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, or Gujarati words. It was also the way we spoke Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, and Gujarati, sprinkling those languages with English words where they seemed appropriate….English, I understood, could be chutnified. That was a moment of real liberation. (Rushdie, Languages of Truth, 2021, p. 92)
Rushdie interviewed after the attack by EuroNews

Nearly fourteen months ago—on August 12, 2022—the author Salman Rushdie was rushed by a surprise attacker on the lecture stage in upstate New York where he was about to speak to an audience of about 2,500 people. Rushdie, then 75, was stabbed several times; fortunately people on the scene and first responders were quick enough to make it possible for him to survive the attack, though the stab wounds were severe, and “resulted in damage to his liver, lost vision in one eye and a paralysed hand caused by nerve damage to his arm.”

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Loneliness, Ethnicity, and our Entangled Relationship with the Others (by Dr Maverick Y. Zhang)

The BILD blog continues the 2023-2024 academic year in our new biweekly format with guest blogger Maverick Zhang. Maverick is a writer, researcher, teacher educator, and activist. Over the past decade, they have engaged in a number of sociopolitical activities in Hong Kong SAR and the state of Georgia in the USA. Maverick’s scholarship deals with the complexity of multicultural and multilingual education in connection with issues around race, class, nationality, and sociopolitical struggles. Their research interests include (but are not limited to) discourse studies, teacher education, multicultural-lingual education, embodiment, critical posthumanism, post-qualitative inquiry, and functional linguistics. Maverick is on faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Hunter College, NYC.

Maverick’s ResearchGate site and Youtube channel

To deal with, address, or at least talk about loneliness, it is crucial for us to look at the complex, entangled relationship between our everyday social practices and the feeling of being lonely. From a posthuman perspective, I argue that loneliness does not have much to do with physical isolation, either from social relations or from the material world, inasmuch as we only exist in our intra-actions with the human and nonhuman others (e.g., Barad, 2003, 2007; St. Pierre, 2016).

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