Language Subjects: Placing Derrida’s Monolingualism in Global Education

Studies in Philosophy and Education 40 (2):135-148 (2021)
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Abstract

Derrida’s autobiographical and philosophical text Monolingualism of the Other; or, the Prosthesis of Origin is a partial recounting of his own childhood and upbringing in Algeria at a time when it was a colony of France. It is on one level a reflection on matters related to colonialism, and especially on the effects of the imposition of colonial language upon schooling and wider practices of education and coming into the world. Yet Derrida’s text also opens onto structural questions about estrangement, unsettledness and Unheimlichkeit such as they pertain to and characterise life in language more generally. This paper puts Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other into relation with contemporary discussions of multilingualism and language learning in the context of the global education agenda. The result, as we shall see, is the destabilising of assumptions that underpin multilingualism and the global education agenda and foreclose their democratic and ethical aims. At the same time, as we shall also see, Derrida’s text opens ways in which the education of language subjects can be reconstructed in relation to a new conception of ethics and the humanities.

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Emma Williams
University of Canterbury

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Derrida and Education Today.Emile Bojesen - 2021 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 40 (2):117-120.

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