Decolonising Multilingualism: Struggles to Decreate
Author: Alison Phipps
What if my own multilingualism is simply that of one who is fluent in way too many colonial languages?
If we are going to do this, if we are going to decolonise multilingualism, let's do it as an attempt at a way of doing it.
If we are going to do this, let's cite with an eye to decolonising.
If we are going to do this then let's improvise and devise. This is how we might learn the arts of decolonising.
If we are going to do this then we need different companions.
If we are going to do this we will need artists and poetic activists.
If we are going to do this, let's do it in a way which is as local as it is global; which affirms the granulations of the way peoples name their worlds.
Finally, if we are going to do this, let's do it multilingually.
A powerful call to decolonise knowledge and resist structures of violence through critical, poetic activism, by unlearning, dialoguing, and embodying the pain and potentialities of de-creation across and between languages, times and spaces.
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University College London, UK
Decolonising Multilingualism is a beautifully written, deeply personal and intimate account of what it means to decentre and give up power. None of us can step outside our histories, our skin colour, the structural inequalities that position us in ways that are both privileged and uncomfortable. But by engaging with, and reflecting upon, how these contexts and power relations influence our work with others, this little book is both liberating and challenges us to do better.
Heaven Crawley, Coventry University, UK
Freire says the role of the colonised is to decolonise the coloniser – Alison Phipps shares her personal journey of such experiences that not only decolonise her but also reveal the hurts and pains of the colonised communities and the gentle wisdom of the lands that offer unconditional healing. These could be stories about courage and vulnerability, but for me I see them as doing what needs to be done: to whakatika (rectify wrongs), with aroha (unconditional love), and discover truth is held in what truly matters – whakapono (faith).
Piki Diamond, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
This is a very timely contribution by Alison Phipps. We live in unprecedented times of divisions. Walls and barriers are raised to keep people and nations apart. People who have so much in common including shared languages. In this book, Alison reminds us of the connecting power of languages and multilingualism. She talks about the languages and traditions left behind by those forced to flee their homes and the rich heritage of languages they can bring to their adopted homes.
Sabir Zazai, CEO of Scottish Refugee Council, UK
This collection of chapters and musings represents excellent material to prompt discussions with colleagues (both linguists and non-linguists) and with students, in order to keep questioning Whiteness in research, how to unlearn the ways of the academy, how to decreate when we work in classrooms and share knowledge in writing, and how to bridge our learning and teaching selves.
BAAL News, Issue 117, Summer 2020
With 'Decolonising Multilingualism: Struggles to Decreate' Alison Phipps has written a very personal, insightful and passionate account of her efforts to understand the situation of multilingual refugees and migrants and given voice to them.
Language and Intercultural Communication, 2019
Phipps provides readers with much inspiration on how to do research and teach
multilingually in a more reflexive way. As Phipps applies many of the working practices set out in the opening Manifesto that guides her work, the book provides an excellent example of what decolonising multilingual approaches can constitute in practice. As an early career researcher, I also consider Phipps' book as symbolically important. Many of us may be struggling with questions relating to working in a 'decolonised' way, but may not have the freedom or academic authority to confidently attempt new ways of researching and teaching multilingually. Phipps' book is a first important step towards reshaping some of our working practices. Having an established academic take the lead can encourage and help emerging scholars find their own answers to some of these difficult issues.
The Translator, 2019Decolonising Multilingualism is a potent, passionate, and important warning, an act of witnessing, and a voice of true reason amid the globalized race for profit in linguistic and symbolic commodities.
Critical Multilingualism Studies, 7:3
Alison Phipps is UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, and Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Glasgow, UK. She writes and publishes widely in both academic publications and the media, and is a respected activist and campaigner for humane treatment for those seeking refuge.
Part 1: Decolonising the Multilingual Body
Chapter 1. Deep Pain is Language Destroying
Chapter 2. More than One Voice
Part II: Decolonising the Multilingual Heart
Chapter 3. Hospitality – Well Come
Chapter 4. Attending to the Gist
Chapter 5. Waiting
Chapter 6. Waiting Brides
Chapter 7. Waiting Bodies
Chapter 8. Screens
Chapter 9. Parting Gifts
Chapter 10. Muted and Hyphenated
Part III: Decolonising the Multilingual Mind
Chapter 11. 'Chitsva chiri mutsoka - Gifts are in the Feet'
Chapter 12. Mihi
Chapter 13. Te Reo -The Māori Language
Chapter 14. Conclusions