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South Asia Center presents: Chaise LaDousa

Maxwell Auditorium

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What languages will be used in schools is an especially complicated issue in postcolonial societies. A language associated with colonialism is often required for use in schools. Classroom interaction reveals that teachers and students often lack knowledge of the language. A handful of scholars have developed a notion -- safetalk -- for explaining that teachers and students in such classrooms are colluding in saving face and managing their lack of knowledge. This presentation describes classroom interaction in Varanasi, India, and demonstrates that safetalk exists in an especially obvious way in the English class at the Hindi-medium school. This is unsurprising in that it coincides with dominant perspectives on education in Varanasi. But, the presentation also questions whether the notion accounts for the ways in which people who are working class envision English and its uses in Varanasi and in northern India more generally. Speaking: LaDousa Chaise Associate Professor of Anthropology Hamilton College Sponsor: Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Co-Sponsor South Asia Center, Co-Sponsor Anthropology Graduate Student Organization, Co-Sponsor

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