Workshop: Language as a socio-cultural tool for sustainable human development

Language is uniquely human. Through language, humans express their understanding of the world. Different human groups employ linguistic and cultural practices to navigate and handle coordination problems in interaction. Language is the key to understanding human nature. It can therefore be used as a tool to address existential and sustainable human development issues. Yet, international as well as national development agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, or Agenda 2063 of the African Union, or the 40-year Development Plan of Ghana ignore and neglect the role of language in shaping and directing human lives. This workshop is organised in the context of a wider research agenda of making languages matter in African Studies and in the conception and implementation of strategies to eradicate inequality in all spheres of human life in Africa.

The current workshop has two specific goals. First, it is to bring together researchers from different fields to report on and brainstorm about representations, categorisations and conceptualisations as well as language use in four domains of human well-being: work, health, education, and financial transactions. The main focus is on Ghana and also on the Peoples of the Gulf of Guinea (the Gbe group). The second goal is for the members of an international consortium to develop and draft a grant proposal for research in this area to be submitted to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

The workshop is largely financed by LeidenASA, and is organized in the framework of Dr Felix Ameka's LeidenASA Research Leave (teaching replacement fund).

Day to day programme and abstracts.

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Date, time and location

01 May 2018 to 04 May 2018
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
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Additional information