Teaching Language as Archive: Creole and Colonialism in Mauritius | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Teaching Language as Archive: Creole and Colonialism in Mauritius

Mauritian Creole; Language; French Language; Colonialism; Identity

Elsa Wiehe (K-16 Education Program Outreach Manager, African Studies Center, Boston University)

April 12, 2022

French language and world history teachers are often searching for entry-points to teach about questions of language, power, and colonialism in Africa. Language is a frequently overlooked domain when studying larger historical processes. Using Mauritian Creole language – "Kreol" – as an archive, this webinar will provide a lens to understand language development under situations of settler colonialism, enslavement, and indenture. It will also raise core questions to teach about Kreol's relationship to French, asking: In which ways was language used as mode of domination of people’s identities? How did Kreol emerge as a response to colonial language policies? How did the science of etymology contribute to the continued misrepresentation of Kreol? What are the continued struggles for the legitimization of Kreol and how do these connect to a larger project of decolonization?


Linguistics / History / Mauritian Creole / Language / French Language / Colonialism / Identity /


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