Diversity Cultural Education Hosting Panel Discussion Participation Event

Moderation of the event series "Shadows of the Shadow" at Burg Hülshoff

In October, the Centre for Literature at Burg Hülshoff opened its two-year project Shadows of Shadows. Language in (post)colonial times. In talks and artistic contributions, it traces the historical traces in language and examines colonial histories and patterns in language and literature.

In the series of events moderated by Prasanna Oommen, she asks her changing guests how strongly colonial history characterises our languages and how far colonial patterns extend into our everyday speech and literature. Shadows of Shadows also sees language as part of the larger process of decolonisation.

An overview of past events::

Mission, Europe, Reggae: Creole languages between marginalization and appropriation in (post)colonialism (17.01.24)

Colonialism and slavery have also given rise to new languages: The creole languages. Today, they are the everyday languages of millions of people worldwide. They not only reveal forms of linguistic dynamics and multilingualism in distant regions of the world, but also challenge our notions of language and equal treatment.

On January 17, 2024, Prasanna Oommen spoke with linguists Anika Gerfer (University of Münster), Siegwalt Lindenfelser (Institute for German Language Mannheim), Philipp Krämer (University of Brussels) and Ryan Durgasingh (Ruhr University Bochum) about Jamaican Creole in global reggae and dancehall music and about the German-based Creole "Unserdeutsch", which was created in a mission station of the Hiltrup Sacred Heart Missionaries in Papua New Guinea. And about what we can learn from the Creole-speaking communities in Europe.

Language ideologies and multilingualism. Good languages - bad languages? (15.11.23)

Numerous perspectives on the German language that are still common today are based on nationalist, imperialist and colonial ideologies of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The constructed juxtaposition of 'cultural peoples' and 'primitive peoples' for the purpose of devaluing the latter took place, among other things, by asserting the superiority of European 'cultural languages'.

On November 15, the linguists İnci Dirim from the University of Vienna and Stefan Engelberg from the Leibniz Institute for the German Language were guests. In the Senate Hall of the University of Münster, Prasanna Oommen spoke with them about different evaluations of languages. What are the roots of common prejudices about languages today and what consequences do these prejudices have for the speakers?

At the beginning of the evening, the audience listened to the audio piece Sounds from the Orient by the performance collective Anna Kpok , which critically reflects on Annette von Droste-Hülshoff's poem cycle of the same name and the "Orientalism" associated with it.

Linguistic justice? The N-word, the Z-word and the dictionaries (18.10.23)

Many people are currently trying to find a more critical approach to words with racist and colonial connotations. Dictionaries are receiving special attention in this regard. Among other things, they are expected to treat problematic cases as such and offer alternatives, thereby contributing to an anti-discriminatory use of language.

On October 18, linguist Laura Neuhaus from the Duden editorial team and Thomas Niehr, Professor of German Linguistics at RWTH Aachen University, met at Haus Rüschhaus in Münster Nienberge for a discussion on the topic. In the talk, moderated by Prasanna Oommen, they discussed the views and arguments currently dominating the social discourse and the challenges this poses for dictionary writing. The event was introduced by a reading in which the actress Samia Dauenhauer gave insights into historical dictionaries in the Burg Hülshoff library.

Image: ©CfL_Dirk Frerichmann