Monday, November 13, 2017

Invitation to two events in December

The Postcolonial Language Studies team would like to invite all interested colleagues and students to two events organized by Joanna Chojnicka in December 2017. They are both part of the series of events under the common title "Questioning the (in)visible: being critical in humanities and social sciences", for the planning and organization of which Joanna has received the ZF01 Impulse grant.

Thursday, December 7th 2017
18:00-20:00, SH D1020
Open lecture by Jane Sunderland (Lancaster University)
"Questioning the (in)visible: being critical in the humanities and social sciences"

The critical, reflexive, on-going questioning, for example of taken-for-granted assumptions and invisible ideologies, along with exploration of what is not articulated, are arguably epistemological and ethical imperatives in the humanities and social sciences. Nevertheless, the importance of such questioning and exploration is sometimes overlooked. In this lecture I examine some of its relevant components, including the obligation to identify, address and explore contradictions. I focus on the need to look at textual, visual and multimodal absences, omissions, backgrounding and the completely invisible: what could be (more) present but is not, and what, from a certain ideological standpoint, should be. More concretely, I look first at the notion of diversity in foreign language education – what this welcome notion does and does not extend to in practice. Second, I look at the notion of heteronormativity in fiction for young children, the gap this leaves, and to what extent is being satisfactorily addressed.

Jane Sunderland is currently an Honorary Reader at Lancaster University, where she was the Director of Studies of the PhD in Applied Linguistics by Thesis and Coursework programme in 2000-2012. Her research interests include gender, language and discourse; Harry Potter and children’s (especially boys‘) literacies; language and gender in African contexts; the representation of gender and sexuality in children’s picturebooks and in language textbooks; gender and sexuality in the language classroom. Jane’s most recent books are the research monographs Language, Gender and Children’s Fiction (2011, Continuum), Gendered Discourses (2004, Palgrave Macmillan), and the advanced coursebook Gender and Language: an Advanced Resourcebook (2006, Routledge). She is currently working on a monograph for Routledge entitled Harry Potter and Young Muggles’ Reading (with Steven Dempster and Joanne Thistlethwaite). She is also co-editor (with Lilian Atanga, Sibonile Ellece and Lia Litosseliti) of Gender and Language in Sub-Saharan Africa: Tradition, Struggle and Change (John Benjamins, 2013), co-editor (with Lia Litosseliti, Kate Harrington and Helen Sauntson) of Gender and Language Research Methodologies (Palgrave, 2008) and (with Lia Litosseliti) of Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis (John Benjamins, 2002). Jane has published articles in Visual Communication, Language and Literature, Journal of Pragmatics, Gender and Education, ELT Journal, System, Language Teaching Research, Discourse and Society, Language Teaching, Language and Education, Linguistics and Education and Gender and Language.

The organization of the lecture is supported by the Worlds of Contradiction (WoC).

Friday, December 8th 2017
09:00-14:00, GW1 B1070
A seminar for PhD students and advanced MA students from social sciences and humanities
"Become reflexive and move academia forward"
Trainers: Joanna Chojnicka (Bremen), Lukasz Pakula (Poznań, Poland), Anna Agaltsova (Moscow, Russia)

Rolling in your academic career? Writing articles, enhancing your citation index, applying for and participating in conferences? Just wait for a second. Do you ask yourself why you are doing it and doing it this way?

Once you got fascinated by something (say gender inbalance) and decided to study it further at university. It was not always easy, but you've been learning new theories and methods, going on field trips, polishinhg your research questions and some 10 years later, here you are researching some really complicated problems (say gender and climate change in eco-cultural studies). But why? And why this way? Why is it important to know the answers to these questions?

We are all biased as researchers: by the life experience, by the context this experience is used in, by the educational curriculum, by the publishing tradition. We choose some methods in favour of others not necessarily because they are better for our research questions. The latter is also quite far from a free choice. The process of collecting data is biased by the context (situational, social, historical, you name it) and interpreting it is biased as well. You think you are on the safe side by choosing quantitative data and statistics? Guess what, no. Not at all. The best part of it you need to be reflexive and think critically to address soical problems and not stick in the Ivory tower of academia.

During this 4-hour workshop you will learn the frameworks of critical thinking and apply it to your own research. You will train on real reserach cases and receive the input from the interdisciplinary group.

You want to join to:
  • Explore the benefits of researcher's reflexivity 
  • Brainstorm your own research within an interdisciplinary group
  • Train reflexivity on real research cases 
  • Establish theoretical and methodological frameworks of critical thinking
  • Move academia forward! 

The organization of the seminar is supported by the Bremen Early Career Resercher Development (BYRD).

Monday, November 6, 2017

Postcolonial language studies workshop

On November 2-3 2017, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg in Delmenhorst hosted the workshop "Postcolonial Language Studies: Current Perspectives", organized by Prof. Eeva Sippola (postcolonial language studies team) together with Prof. Ingo Warnke (Germanistische Sprachwissenschaft; Interdisziplinäre Linguistik) from the University of Bremen.
The workshop was a closed event during which invited participants from both Germany and abroad presented their projects in postcolonial language studies as well as discussed research gaps, disciplinary challenges and future directions.

Below a few photographs from the event:

 Péter Maiz, Stefan Engelberg, Birte Kellermeier-Rehbein, Bruno Arich-Gerz, Maria Mazzoli

Carsten Levisen, Ingo Warnke, Doris Stolberg

Postcolonial movie nights

Program of the Postcolonial movie nights in Winter semester 2017/2018
All welcome!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Linguistic Colloquium on Mixed Languages [photos]

On September 28-29, the University of Bremen hosted a colloquium on Mixed Languages organized by Maria Mazzoli with the support of the Postcolonial Language Studies team.

Mixed languages have fascinated scholars for decades because they present an intriguing type of language contact. They arise in bilingual settings, often as markers of identity or as secret languages, and they combine parts from different language families or branches, showing unique splits that often challenge theories of genetic classification and contact-induced change.

In the colloquium, we heard presentations by international and German scholars on descriptive and theoretical topics, including languages such as Garifuna, Kallawaya, Media Lengua, Michif, and Ma’a/Mbugu, among others.

We would like to thank all the participants for a great colloquium!

 keynote by Katja Hannß / Norval Smith and Frans Hinskens

 Nantke Pecht / keynote by Yaron Matras

 Benjamin Saade / Isabel Deibel

 dinner at Haus am Walde

 keynote by Peter Bakker / Maria Mazzoli

 Anthony Grant / Jesse Stewart

keynote by Maarten Mous / group photo of all the participants

Monday, September 18, 2017

Linguistic Colloquium on Mixed Languages, 28-29 September 2017

Dr. Maria Mazzoli and the Postcolonial Language Studies team invite all interested colleagues, students and visitors to the Linguistic Colloquium on Mixed Languages to take place at the University of Bremen on 28th and 29th September 2017.

Invited speakers:
- Peter Bakker (Arhus University)
- Katja Hannß (University of Cologne)
- Yaron Matras (University of Manchester)
- Maarten Mous (Leiden University)

Location: GW1 HS H1010

The program can be downloaded here in .pdf or viewed by clicking on the images below.

All welcome!

Monday, July 10, 2017

New publication by Joanna Chojnicka

Joanna Chojnicka (Postcolonial Language Studies) has just published a book review in the Journal of Gender and Power.

Information on the book:
Urszula Kluczyńska, Wiktor Dynarski and Anna M. Kłonkowska. Poza schematem. Społeczny konstrukt płci i seksualności. Gdańsk 2016: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego. pp. 145.

The Journal is available for open access and the issue with Joanna's article can be found here.

Monday, July 3, 2017

New publication by Marivic Lesho

Member of the Postcolonial Language Studies group, Marivic Lesho has just published an article co-authored with David Mitchell and Abby Walker:
"Folk perception of African American English Regional Variation"
in the Journal of Linguistic Geography
published online in June 2017

Contrary to previous “sociolinguistic folklore” that African American (Vernacular) English has a uniform structure across different parts of the US, recent studies have shown that it varies regionally, especially phonologically (Wolfram, 2007; Thomas & Wassink, 2010). However, there is little research on how Americans perceive AAE variation. Based on a map-labeling task, we investigate the folk perception of AAE variation by 55 participants, primarily African Americans in Columbus, Ohio. The analysis focuses on the dialect regions recognized by the participants, the linguistic features associated with different regions, and the attitudes associated with these beliefs. While the perceived regional boundaries mostly align with those identified by speakers in previous perceptual dialectology studies on American English, the participants consistently identified linguistic features that were specific to AAE. The participants recognized substantial phonological and lexical variation and identified “proper” dialects that do not necessarily sound “white”. This study demonstrates the value of considering African Americans’ perspectives in describing African American varieties of English.

Friday, June 30, 2017

INPUTS lecture series finished

On Thursday, June 29th 2017 we enjoyed the last lecture in the INPUTS Forum series "Changing ecologies: language, culture and the environment". Tendai Mangena, member of our Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies team, gave a talk entitled "Traces of Antinomy between Culture and the Law in Gappah's short stories".

The lecture series proved to be a success. We were able to welcome some renowned international guests, including Evelyn Camille from Canada, Epifania Amoo-Adare from Ghana or Sune Vork Steffensen from Denmark. Next to Tendai's, we could also offer a lecture of another colleague in the Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies group, Oluseun Tanimomo. And we had the opportunity to establish and strengthen our connections with other German universities by welcoming Kylie Crane (Mainz) and Nico Nassenstein (Cologne).

The series was also successful in terms of content, as the lectures formed a coherent conversation, picking up similar themes but approaching them from different perspectives and using different methods and examples.

Registered users can see the mobile lectures from the series here.

Tendai Mangena in front of the series poster

We thank everyone involved in the lecture series: the speakers, the filming team and the audience. Have a nice summer!
Eeva Sippola & Joanna Chojnicka, series organizers

Monday, June 19, 2017

Open Campus 2017

This year, the Postcolonial Studies group was given the challenging and exciting task of organizing the activities of Faculty 10: Linguistics and Literary Studies at the Open Campus day, which took place on Saturday, June 17th 2017.

Under the supervision of Eeva Sippola and Kerstin Knopf and the coordination of Joanna Chojnicka, a large range of presentations and activities were offered to visitors at the pagoda of Faculty 10. The postcolonial team was supported by the student assistants Michaela Puschmann and Anna Todt as well as the members of Stuga Anglistik.

Throughout the day, fortune-cookies and arabic sweets were handed around and a mini-cinema invited visitors to watch short movies made by the students of MA Transnationale Literaturwissenschaft and a poetry reading. 

Presentations included Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies by Prof. Dr. Kerstin Knopf, Postcolonial Language Studies by Dr. Marivic Lesho, Linguistic Fieldwork in Papua New Guinea by Dr. Lidia Mazzitelli and Research-based learning by BA-Student Michaela Puschmann. Many keen visitors could be found in our workshop on the International Phonetic Alphabet, where participants had the chance to read and write in IPA-Symbols. 

INPUTS contributed to our pagoda by presenting their Guayana- and Haiti-Projects, while Michael Claridge offered a photo-exhibition on the students' excursion to Shakespeare's London and on the most recent play by the Parliament of Foules, Doctor Faustus.

At the end of the day, our team enjoyed the concert of Samy Deluxe and celebrated a succesful and rewarding day. Thanks to everyone who contributed - we are already looking forward to the next Open Campus!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New publication by Eeva Sippola

Creole Studies – Phylogenetic Approaches

Edited by Peter Bakker | Finn Borchsenius | Carsten Levisen | Eeva Sippola

This book launches a new approach to creole studies founded on phylogenetic network analysis. With evidence from creole languages in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific, the book provides new perspectives on creole typology, cross-creole comparisons, and creole semantics. Original case studies explore the differences and similarities between creoles, and discuss how to classify creoles and how they formed and developed.

Creole Studies has been written for a broad readership of scholars and students in the fields of contact linguistics, biolinguistics, sociolinguistics, language typology, and semantics.

Eeva Sippola is one of the editors of the book and has (co-)authored several chapters on Iberian creoles and methods, among others. Danae Perez and Eeva Sippola also contributed to the book with a study on Afro-Hispanic varieties.

Monday, April 3, 2017

INPUTS lecture series

"Changing ecologies: language, culture and the environment"

This lecture series will focus on changing ecologies in the global era from linguistic, cultural and environmental perspectives. The ecological approach functions as a transdisciplinary platform for studying the coexistence of languages, communities, and cultures in a society and their interactions with each other and the natural environment. Within this approach, languages and cultures are studied as systems of interrelations; they cannot be studied in isolation from the totality of human behaviour and from natural circumstances, and these circumstances both affect and are shaped by languages and cultures.

The series is organized in cooperation with the Institute for postcolonial and transcultural studies (INPUTS) at the University of Bremen and it serves as the platform for the INPUTS forum. It will feature introductory thematic lectures followed by guest lectures on current research topics. 

Attention: Evelyn Camille's talk on April 6 will take place in room B3009.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Invitation to a talk by Evelyn Camille

Evelyn Camille (Elder, Secwepemc Nation, BC, Canada)

"Aboriginal Title and Land-Rights facing Industrial Exploitation of Natural Resources The Case of British Columbia/Canada

Thursday, 6 April 2017, 14:00-16:00
GW2 B3009

Lecture within the INPUTS lecture series "Changing ecologies: language, culture and the environment" organised by Eeva Sippola and Joanna Chojnicka

Traditional land rights have been questioned by the European colonizers as soon as the later started claiming the land for themselves. Successively treaties have been signed between the First Nations and the Newcomers. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 declared the Indigenous Nations as sovereign partners within this process. Yet, oral traditions of these treaties transmit a different understanding of these treaties than their written versions. Within the manifold local treaty-situations British Columbia holds a particular position, because many First Nations in this area never surrendered their traditional homelands nor signed general treaties with the Canadian government. They immediately started political and legal actions in order to defend their traditional rights. The Secwepemc Nation, represented here by Elder Evelyn Camille, is one of these Nations.

This presentation will deal with traditional Secwepemc land use, rights and title, and their current struggle to protect their natural resources against destruction by mindless industrial exploitation.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New publication by Tendai Mangena

The new book African Women Under Fire: Literary Discourses in War and Conflict, edited by Pauline Ada Uwakweh and published with Lexington Books in 2017, includes Tendai Mangena’s (Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies team) Chapter: 2. “Reading the War Theme in Selected Black Zimbabwean Women Texts”.

African writers and literary critics must account for the changing political terrain and how these contribute to creating new sources of conflicts and aggression toward women. This book brings insight and scholarly breadth to the growing research on women, war, and conflict in Africa. The aftermath of wars and conflicts initiates new forms of violence and related gender challenges. The contributors establish compelling evidence for the significance of gender in the analyses of contemporary warfare and conflict. Articulating war's consequences for women and children remains a major challenge for critics, policy makers, and human rights organizations. There is a need for deeper understanding of the new sources of violence and male aggression on women, the gendered challenges of reintegration in the aftermath, and the future consequences of gendered violence for the African continent. This book will be useful to scholars, researchers, instructors, students of literature in the humanities, women's studies, liberal studies, African studies, etc. at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It also offers interdisciplinary utility for readers interested in literary representations of women's experience in war and conflict.

Touching on the war experiences of African women, including combat, captivity, and rape, the nine essays in African Women Under Fire: Literary Discourses in War and Conflict, edited by Pauline Ada Uwakweh, engage female agency, resiliency, trauma, violence, and the roles of memory and testimony. Bringing together a wide variety of theories and approaches, the contributors re-examine African war literature from a gendered, postcolonial frame that encompasses trauma studies, psychoanalysis, immigration studies, and the problems of representation.
Joya Uraizee, Saint Louis University

For too long in the history of fiction writing in Africa, the tendency has been to portray women as literary shadows of male creative imagination. In African Women Under Fire: Literary Discourses in War and Conflict, one senses in the critical essays on women’s war literature, a significant and necessary step towards disrupting the masculinization of the African critical enterprise in the literary domain. Never again will African women’s creative voices be mere appendages in anthologies composed by men.
Maurice Taonezvi Vambe, University of South Africa

More information about the book under the following link:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Learn Tok Pisin!

Tok Pisin Intensive Courses I and II 
10-14 and 17-21 July, 2017
Prof. Dr. Craig Alan Volker (Visiting Professor, University of Bremen)

Tok Pisin, also known as New Guinea Pidgin English, is a lingua franca of Papua New Guinea.

Competence in Tok Pisin is indispensable for fieldwork, engagement in development projects, or business in Melanesia. A direct engagement with Tok Pisin is also of interest to linguists interested in the structure of pidgin and creole languages and in the results of intensive language contact.

In these intensive courses, students will attain up to A2 and B1 level proficiency. The lessons will be given in Tok Pisin, English, and/or German.

 For more information, see the Uni Bremen Linguistics course list for Summer Semester 2017 at, or contact Dr. Marivic Lesho at

External participants are welcome!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Linguistic Colloquium on Mixed Languages: Call for Papers

Linguistic Colloquium on Mixed Languages
University of Bremen
September 28-29, 2017
Call for Papers

Mixed languages have fascinated scholars for decades (e.g. Bakker & Mous 1994, Auer 1999, Matras & Bakker 2003, Meakins 2013) because they present an intriguing type of language contact. They arise in bilingual settings, often as markers of identity or as secret languages, and they combine parts from different language families or branches, showing unique splits that often challenge theories of genetic classification and contact-induced change.

The aim of this colloquium is to examine the current state of the theoretical and empirical debate on mixed languages. We welcome contributions that deal with any aspect of mixed language varieties, for example:
- descriptive and documentation approaches to mixed languages
- theoretical discussions on mixed languages, their origin, and development
- mixed languages in comparison to creoles and pidgins
- different types of language mixing practices

Invited speakers:
Peter Bakker (Aarhus University)
Katja Hannß (University of Cologne)
Yaron Matras (University of Manchester)
Marten Mous (Leiden University)

Please submit your abstracts by May 5, 2017 by email to Please provide the title of the paper, name(s) of the author(s), academic title, and affiliation in the abstract. The abstracts should not exceed 500 words. Notification of acceptance can be expected by June 5, 2017. Papers will be given in English, and they should not exceed 30 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion time.

The meeting is organized by the Postcolonial Language Studies research group as part of the Linguistic Colloquium series at the Institute for General and Applied Linguistics (IAAS), University of Bremen.

Important dates:
Submission deadline: May 5, 2017
Announcement of acceptance: June 5, 2017
Conference: September 28-29, 2017

Maria Mazzoli
Eeva Sippola

Monday, February 20, 2017

Maria Mazzoli's fieldwork in Canada

Very soon Maria Mazzoli will leave Bremen for her field research in Canada in the context of her postdoctoral Bremen TRAC project. She will spend five months in Winnipeg and join the University of Manitoba - Institute for the Humanities as a research affiliate.

In collaboration with her host Dr. Nicole Rosen, Maria will work with Michif speakers on the structure of complex Michif stems: she will investigate verbal derivation and compositionality in the verb stem, and also productivity of derivational suffixes.

Michif is a Plains Cree - Metis French mixed language. It is spoken today by few people in some traditional Metis communities within the Metis homeland, which is a vast territory spanning from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes, including the three Canadian prairies provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) and parts of the Northwest Territories, plus the northern prairies of North Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota in the US.

While an affiliate at the University of Manitoba, Maria aims to combine the work with Metis Elders, fluent Michif speakers, with young Metis interested in deepen their knowledge of the language.

Figure. Distribution of Michif speakers and Michif varieties (source Statistics of Canada 2011).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Maria Mazzoli's participation in a workshop in Stockholm

Maria Mazzoli was invited to participate in the workshop Integration, Inclusion, Assimilation and Ghettoisation in a framework of Mobility at the University of Stockholm, on February 9-10.

She presented on her previous work about the linguistic needs of Portuguese migrants in Andorra, and language ideologies in Andorra.

The workshop was organized by Gabriele Iannàccaro and the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, as part of the European project MIME (Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe).

Workshop poster and program

Workshop participants

Language landscapes - Andorra

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New publication by Kerstin Knopf

A new journal contribution by Kerstin Knopf (Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies) is now available!

Knopf, Kerstin. "Jindabyne and the Apology: Intercultural Relations, Violence, Ethics, and the Precarious State of Reconciliation in Australian Cinema." Zeitschrift für Australienstudien / Australian Studies Journal. 30 (2016): 61-88

The Australian Studies Journal is accessible online: click here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New publication by Joanna Chojnicka

LGBTQs, Media and Culture in Europe 
Edited by Alexander Dhoest, Lukasz Szulc, Bart Eeckhout
Routledge, 2017

Including Joanna's chapter: "9. Contesting Hegemonic Gender and Sexuality Discourses on the Web: A Semiotic Analysis of Latvian and Polish LGBTQ and Feminist Blogs"

About the Book
Media matter, particularly to social minorities like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Rather than one homogenised idea of the ‘global gay’, what we find today is a range of historically and culturally specific expressions of gender and sexuality, which are reflected and explored across an ever increasing range of media outlets. This collection zooms in on a number of facets of this kaleidoscope, each chapter discussing the intersection of a particular European context and a particular medium with its affordances and limitations. While traditional mass media form the starting point of this book, the primary focus is on digital media such as blogs, social media and online dating sites. All contributions are based on recent, original empirical research, using a plethora of qualitative methods to offer a holistic view on the ways media matter to particular LGBTQ individuals and communities. Together the chapters cover the diversity of European countries and regions, of LGBTQ communities, and of the contemporary media ecology. Resisting the urge to extrapolate, they argue for specificity, contextualisation and a provincialized understanding of the connections between media, culture, gender and sexuality.

"This collection addresses the Anglo-American bias in much LGBTQ media research and offers the reader a series of snapshots, both past and present, that detail how European LGBTQ people have used, and continue to engage with, media technologies, texts and practices. A must-read for anyone who is interested in work in this area." - Sharif Mowlabocus, University of Sussex