1. Linguists tell us humans share an innate ability to learn language, demonstrated most clearly by the fact that children appear to acquire language automatically and effortlessly. Among adults, this ability varies on an individual basis. This lecture disputes this understanding, arguing that all language learning whether of one's first or of subsequent languages, requires five conditions in abundance: time, effort, desire, input, and possibilities for use. Literacy requires a sixth, instruction. Languages live and die according to the availability of these conditions. The difficulty of learning second and third languages is also determined by their presence or absence.

    2012 Walter Mangold Visiting Fellow, Professor Mary Louise Pratt, of New York University explores and elaborates on these five conditions in relation to contemporary global phenomena of migration, indigeneity, and warfare, as well as language death, linguistic revival, and translingualism.

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  2. In his 30-year long career director Pedro Almodóvar has coined some of the most enduring and recognisable stock images of contemporary Spain. Yet, his highly idiosyncratic mix of camp and sombreness (of silicone and sentiment, in the words of a notable commentator), is seen by many as a grotesque deformation of Spanishness that has projected a skewed image of the country around the world. In stark opposition to all-smile official tourism campaigns, Almodóvar’s Spain is a country of contradiction and excess – passion, paradox and pain. A more ‘authentic country – or at least this is the claim implicit in his films.

    Using Almodóvar’s spectacularisation of authenticity as a departure point, this presentation addresses the relation between nation branding and the film industry through the notion of country image. The case of Spain is particularly interesting for a study of national image due to the unusual confluence of five factors: rapid and successful rebranding in the 1980s and 1990s, strong cultural industries, strong tourist market, rapid social transformation and uneven international profile. The image of Spain encoded and disseminated by today's Spanish cinema is closely related to a deliberate attempt by filmmakers such as Almodóvar to explain a reconstituted Spain to domestic and international audiences. Creating visual images and establishing a symbolic image, projecting images on the screen and projecting a national image abroad, contesting old stereotypes and yet injecting new life into many of them, contributing to normalise a country that once was "different" and yet capitalising on its undiminished queerness - all these are operations that define and explain the image of Spain as portrayed in contemporary Spanish films.

    Alfredo Martínez-Expósito is Professor of Hispanic Studies and Head of the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. He has published extensively on Spanish queer literature and cinematic representations of the male body. He is also interested in critical approaches to the geopolitics of the Spanish language. He is currently researching the contribution of the national film industry to the domestic and international promotion of a renewed image of Spain. He is past President of the Association for Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2008 he received the Spanish Order of Civil Merit for his contribution to the study of Spanish language and culture in Australia.

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  3. The Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Program enables overseas scholars of international distinction to make an extended visit to the University and contribute to the University's academic, intellectual and cultural life.

    Professor Jo Labanyi is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University. She joined NYU's Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 2006, after a career in the UK where, among other things, she directed the Institute of Romance Studies, University of London. A founding editor of the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies and Fellow of the British Academy, she also currently holds the position of Director of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Centre at NYU. Her widely published research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century Spanish literature, painting, film, and photography, and has particular research interests in gender studies, popular culture, and memory.

    This talk gives an overview of the often acrimonious debates on the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 and its repressive aftermath under the Franco Dictatorship that have occupied the media in Spain since the start of the 21st century. It will stress the international context – in Europe and Latin America – in which these debates have taken place. It will also run through key aspects of the theorisation of memory, in order to explain some of the misunderstandings that have arisen in Spain about what memory does or does not do. In particular, the talk will stress the many ways in which memory, rather than “recovering” the past, involves a complex movement between different temporalities. It will also engage in critical discussion of some of the historical and ethical problems involved in these debates, which have implications that go beyond Spain and the Spanish-speaking world.

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  4. Dr Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins

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  5. Using one of his most famous contributions to contemporary culture - the “non-place” - Professor Augé examines concepts such as globalisation, urbanisation, city-world and world-city to define the opposition between "system" and "history". In this lecture, he argues that great architecture today is an expression of the system and a part of the contemporary aesthetic of distance. He questions whether the very idea of world architecture alludes to a global society that does not yet exist and is therefore like a reversed mirror image of the relationship expressed by the sight of the ruins of the past. If this is the case, are we perhaps condemned to (re)discover beauty in the non-places of our present reality?

    Professor Marc Augé is one of France’s leading public intellectuals. His work has revolutionised his primary discipline of anthropology and serves as a key point of reference for work in the humanities and social sciences, architecture and beyond. He is the author of dozens of books including Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, In the Metro and L’Expérience des images (with Umberto Eco and Georges Didi-Huberman). In 2008 the journal L’Homme dedicated an entire edition to his work. Having studied at the École Normale Supérieure, Augé spent much of his career at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales where he served as President and taught alongside Derrida, Bourdieu, and other ground-breaking thinkers of our times.

    # vimeo.com/129066787 Uploaded 259 Plays 0 Comments

School of Languages and Linguistics

Arts Unimelb Business

The School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne was created in 1993 as the vehicle for providing excellence in language teaching and learning, and for ensuring wider access, across the University community, to high level competency…


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The School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne was created in 1993 as the vehicle for providing excellence in language teaching and learning, and for ensuring wider access, across the University community, to high level competency in languages and cultures. Its organisational structure, in close association with the Asia Institute, and its outreach to the rest of the University through the Diploma in Languages, have been widely seen as models of best practice in the Australian system.

Drawing on the expertise of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, the Language Testing Research Centre (LTRC) and the Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross Cultural Communication (RUMACCC), the school promotes working together in language teaching, learning and assessment strategies. The School also provides a focal point for reflection and research in all areas of linguistics, and in the interface between language and culture.

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