BLC Fellows Forum

Presentation | December 1 | 3-5 p.m. | Dwinelle Hall, B-4 (Classroom side)

 FAll 2017 BLC Fellows, UC Berkeley

 Berkeley Language Center

Teaching French Listening Comprehension and Cultural Awareness through Regional Variation
Elyse Ritchey, GSR, French
At the university level, French language instruction in the US traditionally includes a course on phonetics and pronunciation. While the major aim of such courses is to improve students’ speaking and listening competence, they also emphasize speaking ‘correctly’ using standardized, metropolitan French. In this project I propose a curriculum that emphasizes the diversity of spoken French through the exploration of its regional varieties. The curriculum comprises two foundational lessons on the ideology of the standard and sociolinguistic variation in French; five more lessons offer information on and exposure to regional varieties through real speech. My project invites students to consider French beyond the metropole, including its contact with other languages, and thus builds the capacity to understand diverse speakers’ language and culture.

Communities of Practice to the Emergence of Thirdness: Voices, Identities, and Subject Positions of Chinese International Students in the U.S.
Peng Yin, GSR, Graduate School of Education
Based on data collected from in-depth interviews with 15 Chinese international students enrolled in a large public university in the U.S., this exploratory study brings to the fore the heterogeneous and contentious nature of negotiating one’s voices, identities, and subject positions as an international student in a transnational milieu. The findings of this study cast doubt on the extent to which a unified and neutralized account of social engagements, as suggested by a dominant theoretical framework in this field, i.e., communities of practices (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Lave, 1993; Wenger, 1998), captures the dynamics involved in the socialization process associated with international students who have to navigate their day-to-day lives at the interstices of varied languages, cultures, relations, and expectations. Instead of drawing decisive conclusions about what counts as an ideal framework for understanding and interpreting the living and learning experiences of international students, the study is intended to foreground the potential of a post-structurally informed perspective, as characterized by the affordances of “thirdness” (Kramsch, 2009), for envisaging alternative ways to talk about this burgeoning student population.

Cultural Memory in Focus: Designing a Travel/Study Program for the Former Yugoslavia
Antje Postema, Lecturer, Slavic Languages & Literatures
In this presentation, I discuss the process of researching and designing a new travel/study course that treats ongoing legacies of war, as well as exemplary moments of peace, in the former Yugoslavia over the long 20th century. In the first section of the talk, I detail recent scholarship on the pedagogical function of travel/study programs that take cultural studies approaches. Next, I lay out the contours of my proposed course, which concentrates primarily on how historical memories consistently dominate current debates about individual and group identities in the region. I conclude by articulating the notion of cultural memory that organizes the course theoretically and programmatically. I make the case that the course’s explicit focus on cultural objects –literature and film, museums and galleries, monuments and cemeteries – allows students to understand most effectively the relationship between history and memory by foregrounding the vital role culture plays in shaping social memory.

 ogarcia@berkeley.edu, 510-877-4002