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Zombies Speak Swahili

Why Language Matters for Global Citizenship

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Performing Arts & Humanities Building : 132
Daphne Harrison Lecture

Jamie A. Thomas, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Swarthmore College

More and more universities are encouraging study abroad and global citizenship. But how should students and faculty foster global study and intercultural communication? Drawing upon fieldwork in Mexico and Tanzania, this talk reveals why language and communication are crucial to cross-border collaboration and intercultural learning. The talk will explore identity and globalization in language learning and study abroad through the metaphor of the undead, with attention to the experiences of people of color in North America, as well as the Global South. It will argue that we need to consider language, in addition to race, gender, sexuality, and ability, as a key dimension of an intersectional approach to matters of identity and power.

Bio: Jamie A. Thomas has been working with programs in language learning and international education for more than a decade. Her forthcoming book Zombies Speak Swahili explores identity and globalization in language learning and study abroad through the metaphor of the undead, with particular attention to the experiences of people of color. She is a Visiting Scholar at UC Santa Barbara.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Center for Social Science Scholarship; the Africana Studies Department; the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program; and the Office of International Education Services.

UMBC is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. If you would like to request accommodations (e.g., ASL interpreters, captioning, wheelchair access, etc.) for this event due to a disability, please notify us at least two weeks prior to the event. Requests received after that time cannot be guaranteed, but we will do our best to make arrangements for program access. Please contact us at with your specific request and be sure to include the event title, date, and time.

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