about us

Welcome to the Southern Multilingualisms and Diversities Consortium website

Who we are

We are a group of sociolinguists and applied linguists who work in multilingual contexts around the world and who collaborate with research groups and / or centres with a focus on multilingualism. Our first interest is in the experiences, knowledge and expertise that southern and marginalised communities have of multilingualism and diversity. Our second interest is in how the knowledge and expertise of southern and marginalised communities may contribute to global understandings of diversity. Our third interest is in how knowledge and expertise may be exchanged in reciprocal and respectful ways among marginal and mainstream communities located in southern and northern settings of the world.

About the Consortium

The Southern Multilingualisms and Diversities Consortium (SMDC) has emerged from discussions among a number of people who have worked in multilingual contexts, particularly in marginalised communities in both southern and northern contexts. The term ‘southern’ in the consortium’s name refers to individuals and constituencies experiencing historical hegemony rather than a geopolitically delimited space. Although linguistic diversity has long been recognised as a feature of marginal and southern contexts, much of the contemporary discourse and published literature on multilingualism adopts northern or hegemonic perspectives. Although these perspectives are often located within critical linguistics, they scope a theoretical lens of multilingualism through which marginal and southern multilingualisms are viewed and understood from the outside. More broadly, there is a growing recognition that northern epistemologies may limit, preclude or silence opportunity for engagement with those immersed in or working with southern epistemologies. In this case, we are interested in exploring the practices, theories and views of multilingualism which marginalised, peripheral and southern communities have of their own linguistic diversity. Reciprocity of knowledge exchange among marginal and southern, and central and northern agents with an interest in linguistic diversity, promises to enrich global understandings of multilingualism. It may also contribute to contemporary thinking in ‘southern theory’ (Connell 2007), ‘southern epistemologies’ (e.g. Comaroff & Comaroff 2012, Santos 2012) and ‘decoloniality’ (Mignolo 2011).

Those who engage with diversity in and from marginal and southern perspectives, whether scholars, research groups, clusters or centres, are invited to participate in the Southern Multilingualisms and Diversities Consortium (SMDC). This is an opportunity to participate in conversations about linguistic diversity that are multidirectional and driven by the participatory agency of each setting. You can do this by contacting the consortium directly or through any of the members or groups listed on our members page.

Background and early conceptualisation of this consortium

SMDC acknowledgements

This is the website of the Southern Multilingualisms and Diversities Consortium