Treasured Folklife and Language Pluralism Face off with Sweeping National Mandates for English-language Instruction: Who Will Win?

Anis Sundusiyah (University of Pittsburgh)

Indonesia presents a fascinating, consequential case study of the promises, perils, and political nature of national language/ culture policy, namely declaring English to be the mandatory second official language. Given the greatly dispersed and ethnically diverse population of this nation of islands, the logistics of this shift were not the only factor imperiling its success. Conflicts over political and cultural values fed ideological clashes (e.g., nationalism vs neoliberalism) and cultural struggles (e.g., speeding up losses of local languages). I examine how stakeholders framed the unacceptable risks of significant shifts away from thriving folklife practices for greater integration into international markets.

Part of 06-07 Re-Centering Peripheral Ways of Knowing via Global Folklife Education Initiatives, Friday, October 14, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm