Thursday, September 12, 2019

September ANU Language Teaching Forum

  • Monday 16 September, 4.15 – 5.15 pm 
  • Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU.
  • Presenter: Josh Brown from Italian Studies
  • Topic: On ‘Crisis’ and the Pessimism of Disciplinary Discourse in Foreign Languages
This paper investigates how the disciplinary discourse on the contemporary state of foreign languages in universities (hastily) refers to these disciplines as being in ‘crisis’. This practice is nearly as old as the Humanities itself, and has been employed periodically since at least the 1940s. Despite a period of increasing foreign language enrolment in the first decade of the twenty-first century in Australia, calls of ‘crisis’ came from across the languages sector. In tracing the use of the term ‘crisis’, I show how the sector has long been characterised by such alarmist terminology, even when reality suggests otherwise. A topical report of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, which shows increased language enrolment over the period 2002-11, leads one to believe that things at universities may not be as bad as first thought. These data are contrasted against total enrolment in languages other than English from the most recent statistics available in 2016 from the Modern Language Association. This paper has implications for language enrolments not just in Australia, but around the world.

Everyone involved in language teaching and research within the ANU and in the wider community are welcome to participate in these forum meetings. The main objective is to foster the exchange of research and new approaches in language education. 

For more information and/or to join the mailing list, contact Wesley Lim at

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