Special Issue "Endangered Human Diversity: Languages, Cultures, Epistemologies"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2012)
Prof. Dr. Anders Breidlid (Website)
Oslo University College, Faculty of Education and International Studies, P.O. Box 4, St. Olavs Plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway
Interests: international education; education and development; international politics; human rights; HIV/AIDS; indigenous knowledge; African Literature; Sub-Saharan Africa; Cuba; Chile; the US
This special issue focuses on the threat to human diversity in terms of epistemologies, languages, cultures and traditions. When a language disappears, mankind loses a part of its rich cultural heritage. When cultures and traditions are marginalized it impacts on identity development and construction. Moreover, what are the consequences of the hegemonic role of Western epistemology in terms of human diversity globally? While the answer to this question is often contradictory and multiple, there is a sense that Western hegemonic epistemology does not necessarily play a positive role in preserving linguistic and cultural heterogeneity. On the contrary, the hegemonic Western discourse is often seen to be closely related to what could be called linguistic and cultural imperialism, resulting in the marginalization of peoples’ languages, cultures and epistemologies, particularly in the global South. It seems necessary to replace the monological focus on Western knowledge production with what Gregory Bateson calls double or multiple descriptions. Such an approach allows for the incorporation of various linguistic, cultural and epistemological manifestations in the discussions of sustainability, sustainable development and a sustainable future.
There is a need for new conversations and questions about epistemologies, cultures and languages in the global village. Questions of what kind of knowledges and cultures exist, for instance in learning institutions, are seldom asked and problematized, even though there is common knowledge that the traditional knowledges and cultures of millions of students are dislocated and rubbished. Questions related to the kind of knowledges, traditions and cultures for a sustainable future seldom transcend the Western knowledge universe. To what extent does globalization hinder epistemological, cultural and linguistic diversity?
In this issue of Sustainability we welcome manuscripts which both address issues of human diversity and sustainability from a global perspective, and more localized or micro studies. Manuscripts discussing the impact of globalization on epistemological, cultural and linguistic diversity are particularly welcome.
Prof. Dr. Anders Breidlid
- Threat to human diversity
- Western knowledge production and sustainability
- Globalization and marginalization
- Languages, cultures and identity construction
- Knowledge conservation
- Cultural sustainability
- Rare languages