Masking Languages, Skinning Languages: Tourism, Researching Multilingually and The Performing Body

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Masking Languages, Skinning Languages: Tourism, Researching Multilingually and The Performing Body.Alison Phipps, University of Glasgow.

with Tawona Sithol, Gameli Tordzro, Naa Densua Tordzro

Black Skin, White Masks (Fanon)The disaster of the man of color lies in the fact that he was enslaved.The disaster and the inhumanity of the white man lie in the fact that somewhere he has killed man. (152)

Linguistic entanglements, emblematic codesAnd languaging in tourism

LanguagingDas Zwischenmenschliche (Buber) quick of human relatedness.

Northern project, with northern epistemologies

A northern sociolinguisticsborn of the monolingualisms of Europe and its invention (Gramling, forthcoming)

Researching Multilingually at Borders

Two overarching aims:to research interpreting, translation and multilingual practices in challenging contexts, and,

while doing so, to document, describe and evaluate appropriate research methods (traditional and arts based) and develop theoretical approaches for this type of academic exploration.


5 Case Studies

Global Mental Health: Translating Sexual and Gender Based Trauma (Scotland/Sierra Leone)Law: Translating vulnerability and silence in the legal process (UK/Netherlands)State: Working and Researching Multilingually at State and EU borders (Bulgaria/Romania)Borders: Multilingual Ecologies in American Southwest borderlandsLanguage Education: Arabic as a Foreign Language for International Learners (Gaza)

Introduction: Our large grants project is made of five case study sites, all of which will generate material/examples the the RMTC and CATC hubs can draw on to research multilingually and translate cultures.

This case is but one example of the multiple case studies we will collect, but our translation of the case/experience is an amalgam of analysis and performance (as the example will illustrate).

Scenario:A single mother war victim from Cote dIvoire with two disabled daughters seek asylum in Scotland.

She speaks her native Nzema and Fante (also spoken in Ghana) and French but needed to process the trauma in English and with the music of home.

She believes her children are a curse, at church, she is told by her African pastor that the curse is from family members in Cote dIvoireIn Glasgow, She faces multiple problems regarding her spoken and written English, her childrens education, housing, work, child care, marriage and her own ambitions to became a designer. How do we Research such a case and document, analyse and compare How will the the emotional impact of this ladys trauma be translated?How did we collect the research data (the story)?Documenting/translation: in a poem/song, a short story,


Languages as Social Category and Social ConstructLargely overlooked in accounts of tourism

Overlooked in methodologies

Race, gender, class

Masking Languages

From the North: Analysed through the lens of postcolonialism and market relations, critically or otherwise.

To take a view from the South:Tourist body needs to be understood within the necropolitics of the age

(Northern) Multilingual Dialogues in Tourism


Necropolitics: Mbembe (2003,13) My concern is those figures of sovereignty whose central project is not the struggle for autonomy but the generalized instrumentalization of human existence and the material destruction of human bodies and populations.

Unmooring Northern Epistemologies of LanguageLanguage and Tourism as InstrumentalisedStudies of transactionStudies of discursive formationStudies of damage to language under conditions of globalisation Learning of tourist languagesCost-benefit analysis of languaging.

Necropolitics and the TouristThe Tourist is grievableThe southern host is not.(Butler)

Racism is the vehicle for the necropolitics.

Typically we separate the epistemological relationHospitality is an industry not an entangled act in history.

FanonBoth (Black and White) must turn their backs on the inhuman voices which were those of their respective ancestors in order that authentic communication be possible. Before it can adopt a positive voice, freedom requires an effort at disalienation. (180)

Naa Densua

Performing and Consuming the Tourist Body

The body is whiteThe body is skinnedThe body is clothedThe body performsThe body is

Cape CoastIs language in tourism settings, through its situatedness in Colonialism and power inequalities, especially violent and gendered?

Bare feet, green batik, white skin in black hand.

How is languaging fixed?The Art of Making things stick (Karin Barber)

Multilingual vernaculars, translingual practice and the monolingual tourist (who may have several mono-languages)

Has he eaten salt? Languaging in Ghanathis is a natural conversation. we are not talking like this to please you Alison, [laughter] because of the grant uhmm or because its our national language but we are talking because the way we talk to each other when we say things like in my language we in my culture we..

In my language we.This one is called a .

Repetoires built of rehearsals of scrips of behaviour and language.

EntanglementSara Nutall (post-apartheid) South Africa)Concept on periphery brought centre stage (a strategy of defamiliarisation) to enable both opacity and clarity and a polyglot public space.

Mbembe 1993/ Nutall 2003Oppressor and oppressed do not inhabit in commensurate spheres: rather they share the same epsiteme.

Unmooring languages To be moored requires twin anchors.

Moored, is how languages have been associated, colonially, (Anderson, 1980) with the national state.

UnmooredUnmooring occurs when one or both of the twin anchors are raised.

Raising both anchors means movement, a possible loss of control, a move into what may be unknown, however charted. To be unmoored suggests possibility, potential pain, insecurity, escape, freedom, hope, danger, release and a sea-ward flow.

A Guide for the (unmoored) Traveller

Cultural Forms Literature is where I went to feel more alive, and to try to penetrate the deaness all around; to know black women more than I could hope to in apartheid life (Nutall (2003, 152)

Researching Multilingually in TourismLanguage Learning as Oral and MaterialNot primarily textual

Connections to philosophies of Vocal Expression (Caveraro)


Told in a voice that involves the throat, saliva, infancy, a patina of experienced life, the minds intentions, the pleasure of giving a personal form to sound waves. (Cavarero 2005: 2)

Linguistic Hospitality The voice is sound not speech. But speech constitutes its essential destination. What is therefore at stake in any inquiry into the ontology of the voice where uniqueness and relationality come to the fore is a rethinking of this destination (Caveraro)As Dialogue

Spoken Word and its Entanglements and Emblematic codes

Philosophy ignores the plural, reciprocal communication of voices and their elementary forms.

Phonic over sonic is the power relation.

The Act of Speaking is Relational (cavarero)

We move across disciplines, searching for distubances, fluctuations, oscillations in conventional accounts. (Nutall (2003, 13)

Gifts are in the Feet

Guide to a Traveller

Calabash People

the resistance practices to skin and language which are performed to and for tourists in these contexts. It will examine the way performance intervenes and the tourist body is both performed and consumed in a range of sites and the ways in which languages and translation practices operate. Using artistic and ethnographic film it will consider ways in which tourism preserves and changes languages and how ritual practices form key moments in tourist encounters. In particular it will work with the poetry of Tawona Sithole which intervenes in the masking of languages and operations of tourism and travel. Working through the proverbs and poetry of the performance piece the paper will also draw on the work of Fanon to explore the relationship between skin, race and languages the paper will consider, theoretically, linguistically and aesthetically, ways in which Fanons concepts might also apply to the operation of languages in tourist settings.