Language Symposium Topics Intersect Language, Culture, Identity

Fengbeiling (Selina) Wang ’21 and Hongjia (Jane) Zhang ’21 spoke on “The Recognition, Mobility, and Transformation of Languages and Identities” during the two-day “Power of Language” symposium.

On April 6–7, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted “The Power of Language” symposium showcasing original performances and student/faculty presentations on the intersections of language, culture, and identity.

At the event, more than 20 panelists spoke on the topics of Shaping Identity Through Language, Moving Across Language, Power Dynamics of Multilingualism, Life in Translation, Ways of Teaching Language, Language and Politics, and Building Community Ties Through Language Learning. Several panelists were Wesleyan faculty and students.

“The purpose of this symposium was to bring together a community interested in the topic of language learning, communications, and multilingualism,” explained Kia Lor, assistant director of language and intercultural learning.

Lor, a multilingual, non-native English speaker, helped spearhead the symposium.

“I immediately saw the opportunity for students, faculty, and the citizens of Middletown to showcase the many forms of cross-lingual communication while also highlighting the importance of linguistic empathy in our increasingly multicultural and interconnected community,” she said.

The event was co-sponsored by the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Center for Pedagogical Innovation.

Photos of the event are below (photos by Kia Lor and Caroline Kravitz ’19):