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HomeLanguages, literatures and peace building

Languages, literatures and peace building

Langues, littératures et consolidation de la paix

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Published on Monday, March 20, 2023

Abstract

Guaranteeing a peaceful climate in a restricted or relatively large space is a challenge, which is why it is almost impossible to list in an exhaustive manner the mechanisms likely to maintain harmony between humans and/or between Nations, as these means are sometimes beyond suspicion. At the same time, it would be tedious to want to list the factors likely to break the tranquility, the state of cohesion, and to generate misunderstandings, conflicts of various kinds and, finally, war. So, how can linguistics and linguistic dynamics (in all forms and manifestations, including literature) be at the origin of social/interhuman, inter-intra-community, inter-State, inter-religious tensions...? And, how could they resolve the said crises and conflict situations? Which linguistic dynamics emerge from these? This is the challenge of this project. 

Announcement

Coordinators 

  • Joefrey Ngha Fuh Nji, The University of Maroua, jnghanji2008@yahoo.com 
  • Basile Difouo, The University of Maroua, basiledif@gmail.com 

Argument

Throughout the world, at the heart of relations between humans and States, peace stands out as one of the sine qua non conditions for any harmony. No Nation, no society, no people, no being can claim to be spared from any possibility of conflict in the near or relatively distant future; especially since the contexts where some tranquility visibly reigns are generally those wherein, warfare tactics are the most sophisticated, and the most up-to-date. This is evidence that there is a permanent vigilance, that all is put in place to face possible enemies at all times. François-Régis Legrier (2018), citing among others, Clausewitz, Sun Tzu and Julius Caesar, recognizes this by affirming that he who "wants peace prepares for war" (from the Latin "si vis pacem, para bellum"), no situation being eternal/definitive. Also, the absence of conflict is not always synonymous with a haven of peace; just as peacekeeping results from a set of measures, acts, treaties, agreements, organizations, stakeholders/negotiators, commitments... (UNO, HCR, Treaty of Versailles, Mandela, Luther King…). Guaranteeing a peaceful climate in a restricted or relatively large space is therefore a challenge, which is why it is almost impossible to list in an exhaustive manner the mechanisms likely to maintain harmony between humans and/or between Nations, as these means are sometimes beyond suspicion. At the same time, it would be tedious to want to list the factors likely to break the tranquility, the state of cohesion, and to generate misunderstandings, conflicts of various kinds and, finally, war. So, how can linguistics and linguistic dynamics (in all forms and manifestations, including literature) be at the origin of social/interhuman, inter-intra-community, inter-State, inter-religious tensions...? And, how could they resolve the said crises and conflict situations? Which linguistic dynamics emerge from these? This is the challenge of this project. 

In fact, the issue of peace, is so dear to ordinary mortals (both individually and collectively) that it is particularly difficult for them to undertake anything without giving it some interest. Aware of this state of affairs, for several millennia, the notion of the “social contract” has emerged, as opposed to the “state of nature” (Rousseau, 1762). The state of nature refers to the absence of law, to the jungle, to injustice, to inequity. The law of the strongest, as it is said trivially, wants to be the best. Hence the reign of precariousness, of vulnerability that spares no one; it is also not excluded that the supposed "strongest" is rightly or wrongly the victim of his/her own improbity or of popular justice. On the other hand, the social contract refers to the establishment, for a more harmonious life, of common rules imposed on everyone sharing the same living space. In this way, it is easier to sanction those who, deliberately or not, put themselves on the precincts of established laws and contravene them. It is worth remembering that, unlike some Western societies where these laws have been materialized (in written form) for many centuries, several societies in Africa and elsewhere have long preserved and transmitted the said rules by the unique channel of orality. Obviously, communication, in a global way (and language more precisely) has therefore proven to be a tool that can be put at the service of peace and harmony or constitute a problematic factor, depending on the use made of it. 

The main means of interaction between living beings (human beings in particular), language governs most transactions in a social environment, both directly and symbolically. There are two main categories, which are themselves subdivided into sub-categories. It is, on the one hand, the verbal language which can be oral or written and, on the other hand, the non-verbal language which can materialize by gestures, movements, images, icons and, moreover, on account of new information and communication technologies, emojis, stickers, pictograms, etc. If the first category, for one reason or another, is the most common and the most used, the fact remains that the second, by its complementary nature, remains of capital importance and, therefore, not negligible. The fact remains that, during communication (speaking in private or in public; a public speech, a televised debate, a conference, a discussion, an interview, etc.), a word, a sentence or a misplaced text, badly arranged or badly articulated can result in conflict; just as, in an environment where there is tension, a word, a sentence or a well-placed, well-arranged, well-articulated text can bring back tranquility and peace of mind. Misunderstanding between acquaintances/collaborators, wars (from the most insignificant to the most destructive in the history of humanity) between Nations are sometimes born of simple verbal provocations, emanating from an individual or a community, via diverse channels (signposts, media, etc.). The Rwandan genocide in 1994 between Hutus and Tutsis, for example, gained more momentum thanks to the calls made by one against the other on the infamous "thousand hills radio station". If sometimes the verbal provocation is done on purpose, it happens that at certain times, the climate of tension arises from a simple incomprehension, a mix-up, a misapprehension ... At the national level in Cameroon, the intercommunity crisis in the Noun Division (Western Region), following the remarks of the leader of the Magba community, during the tour of the Sultan King of Bamoun in January 2023, is still fresh. For justified or unfounded reasons, the first, in his welcome speech, referred to the second (his host) with the expression "my son", which engendered tension between the two communities present, resulting in exchange of blows and injuries and the destruction of property as well. Similar cases are legion, and in all sectors of life in society. Similarly, there are many war situations where peace has been restored thanks to well-ordered communication (case of sovereign national conferences, etc.). 

Furthermore, due to the linguistic configuration (linguistic map of the world) and the huge gap that exists between the number of speakers of the different languages spoken, it is particularly difficult to ignore the role that languages play/can play in the upsurge and radicalisation of certain crises. While a few languages are spoken by hundreds of millions of speakers, thousands of others struggle to maintain just a few dozen active speakers. While those in the first category (English, Spanish, Mandarin, French, etc.) have a certain guarantee of long-term sustainability, those in the second series are inevitably doomed to gradual and certain death, in the short or medium term. Here is a summary of some recent statistics on the practice of languages around the world (https://sorosoro.org/tout-savoir-sur-les-langues). Of the 7,000 languages used in the world, 500 are spoken by less than 100 speakers; 96% are spoken by 4% of the world's population (and therefore, conversely, 4% of languages are spoken by 96% of the population); 90% of internet content is written in only 12 languages; 50% of existing languages could die during this 21st century, since a language dies every fortnight according to UNESCO. At the origin of these manifest inequalities, we cannot spare the quests and conquests of recent centuries, with their flaws and vices. But it is more the political and linguistic choices of certain States/Nations that should be blamed the most, because the lack of updating and questioning of yesterday's choices hardly contribute to the rise of languages said to be dominated and threatened with extinction (Difouo, 2022). From the foregoing, and for one reason or another, the antagonism thus maintained between the languages of the world (majority languages versus minority languages) is likely to be able to generate, in various situations, conflicts of all kinds. In addition, the linguistic shocks resulting from encounters between peoples, in many cases, have continued to generate conflicts and other crises, large or small (Mastacan and Sobieszewska, 2020). 

Moreover, as a form of communication (Mendo Ze, 2007), literature (all genres combined) proves to be the medium par excellence through which the human, through their imagination and by imitation or not of reality, recreates the universe with all its components. Thus, the use of language, sometimes extraordinary, often has a particular configuration, relatively likely to maintain peace in its multiple aspects, or to contribute to its maintenance. Moreover, through the characters, the plot or the actions taken, the author also concretizes situations of peace or conflict that it would be wise to approach closely, to measure the implications. 

It is therefore a question, for the present book project (through the plural and diversified contributions), of carefully examining the issue of peace under the prism of language dynamics and literary studies. The proposals for reflection could take into account the issue of maintaining/preserving/consolidating peace as well as conflict management through the various components. Whether it is the source (languages and literatures as sources of peace and/or conflicts) or manifestations (languages and literatures as a place of expression/amplification of harmony or tense climate) or effects (languages and literature as a springboard for resolving conflict situations or consolidating peace), each aspect of the global problem deserves special attention. Contributions related but not limited to the following sub themes are called for:

• Languages and conflicts 

• Languages and misinformation

• Languages and misunderstanding

• Communication, fake news and social climate

• Plurilingualism and peace/war (tensions)

• Languages and identity issues

• Literature and love / dislike of fatherland

• Hate speech on social media

• Literature and environmental issues

• Literature, religion and peacebuilding

• Literature and questions of identity

• Literature and sustainable development

• Linguistic policies and social tensions

• Silence/cacophony and conflict management

• Translation and ideological issues (in the service of peace or at the origin of tensions)

• Linguistic dynamics in the context of peace and/or conflict

• Linguistic representations/attitudes and implications on peace/conflict issues

• Orality/non-verbal language and the advent/resolution of conflicts.

Submission guidelines

These themes are obviously not exhaustive and any contribution related to the general problem of the project will be welcome. All abstracts (between 200 and 500 words) will be sent simultaneously,

no later than May 31, 2023,

to the following addresses: jnghanji2008@yahoo.com and basiledif@gmail.com. 

Full articles (between 5,000 and 10,000 words) will be sent to the same addresses no later than October 31, 2023.

NB1: Specific editorial instructions will be communicated to the authors after acceptance of their abstracts. 

NB2: The evaluation of abstracts and articles (as well as the publication of the book) is free for all contributors.

Dates to remember 

  • Call for papers: Tuesday, February 28, 2023 
  • Reception of article abstracts: until May 31, 2023 

  • Notification of authors (acceptance or rejection): until June 14, 2023 
  • Receipt of complete articles: until October 31, 2023 
  • Feedback: until November 14, 2023 
  • Corrected version of the articles: no later than December 31, 2023 
  • Publication of the book: February 2024 

Scientific committee

Clément Dili Palaï (The University of Maroua), Louis Martin Onguéné Essono (The University of Yaoundé I), Paul Nkad Mbangwana (The University of Yaoundé I), Maxime Pierre Meto’o (The University of Yaoundé I), Robert Fotsing Mangoua (The University of Dschang), Kisitus Mpoche Mformi (The University of Douala), Michael Apuge Etuge (The University of Maroua), Jean-Jacques R. Tandia Mouaffo (The University of Dschang), Adama Samake (Félix Houphouët-Boigny University), Félix Nicodème Bikoï (The University of Douala), Stephen Ambe Mforteh (The University of Yaoundé I), Edmond Biloa (The University of Yaoundé II), Gérard Marie Noumssi (The University of Yaoundé I), Daniel Nkemleke (The University of Yaoundé I), Raymond Mbassi Ateba (The University of Douala), Félicité Ewane (The University of Yaoundé I), Valentine Ubanako Njende (The University of Yaoundé I), Julia Ndibnu Messina (The University of Yaoundé I), Gilbert Zouyane (The University of Ngaoundéré), Sosthène Marie-Xavier Atenke Etoa (The University of Maroua), Martial Meutem Lozzi (The University of Maroua), François Baïmada Gigla (The University of Maroua), Magdaline Bakume Nkongho (The University of Maroua), Jacques Evouna (The University of Yaoundé I), Camilla Arundie Tabe (The University of Maroua), Fils Bernard Ambassa (The University of Maroua), Martha Mbuh (The University of Maroua), Nicoline Agbor Tabe (The University of Bamenda), Blossom Fondo Ngum (The University of Maroua), Roger Fopa Kueté (The University of Maroua), Bernard Bienvenu Nankeu (The University of Maroua), Evangeline Seino (The University of Bamenda), Albert Jiatsa Jokeng (The University of Maroua), Antoine Willy Ndzotom Mbakop (The University of Maroua), Joseph Nkwain (The University of Maroua).

Reading committee

Dr Tameh kilian (Université de Yaoundé I), Dr Dagasso Etienne (Université de Maroua), Dr Akem ShedMankah Helen (Université de Bamenda), Dr NJimeni J. Clébert (Université de Maroua), Dr Zango Achilles Carlos (Université de Bamenda), Dr Se Ngue Daniel (Université de Maroua), Dr Ketcha Raphael (Université de Bamenda), Dr Mambi M. Jules (Université de Maroua), Dr Ntam Éric Ngea (Université de Maroua), Dr Berinyuy Jude (Université de Bertoua), Dr Ngwe Raphael (Université de Maroua), Dr Palé Pierre (Université de Buéa), Dr Kamsu S. Amos (Université de Maroua), Dr Nye Mformi Grace (Université de Maroua), Dr Meh Innocent Ettia (Université de Bertoua), Dr Ngala Bernard (Université de Maroua), Dr Mbah Maurice (Université de Dschang), Dr Hamidou Bappa (Université de Maroua), Dr Nguemo Joseph (Université de Maroua).

Places

  • Higher Teacher Training College - Kogola campus
    Maroua, Cameroon (PO Box 55)

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Attached files

Keywords

  • language, literature, dynamic, peace, conflict

Contact(s)

  • Basile Difouo
    courriel : basiledif [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Joefrey Ngha Fuh Nji
    courriel : jnghanji2008 [at] yahoo [dot] com

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Languages, literatures and peace building », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, March 20, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1aqc

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