Presentation Title

Language as a Tool of Colonization in Schools in Senegal

Presenter Information

Koren DalipeFollow

Faculty Mentor

N/A

Start Date

17-11-2018 8:00 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 8:15 AM

Location

C151

Session

Oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

School has been described as a place of learning, but can it also be used to indoctrinate? The main argument of my Mellon Mays Research Project is that the French Empire used the French language as a tool of colonization throughout schools in Senegal. My research is centered around the idea that language can be used as a political weapon by colonial empires and it is important because of its implications in Senegal today. Although most of the population in Senegal speak Wolof, French is the official language of the country and France’s current president has taken a special interest in keeping the French language alive today in countries once colonized by the French. The era I am most interested in begins when French West Africa, the federation of colonies Senegal was a part of, began its plans for a comprehensive education system throughout the federation in 1903. There has been scholarship done on Senegal’s education system, but not much on how language was used to assimilate and manipulate students within these schools. I hope to fill in this gap and I plan on using concepts from sociolinguistics and child development in my research to discover how and why schools tried to assimilate children into the French Empire. My Mellon Mays Research Project will bring a new understanding to language learning, one that has not been researched much before and one that will hopefully bring more people to realize how easy it is to abuse the power of language.

Summary of research results to be presented

My Mellon Mays Research Project will bring a new understanding to language learning, one that has not been researched much before and one that will hopefully bring more people to realize how easy it is to abuse the power of language

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Nov 17th, 8:00 AM Nov 17th, 8:15 AM

Language as a Tool of Colonization in Schools in Senegal

C151

School has been described as a place of learning, but can it also be used to indoctrinate? The main argument of my Mellon Mays Research Project is that the French Empire used the French language as a tool of colonization throughout schools in Senegal. My research is centered around the idea that language can be used as a political weapon by colonial empires and it is important because of its implications in Senegal today. Although most of the population in Senegal speak Wolof, French is the official language of the country and France’s current president has taken a special interest in keeping the French language alive today in countries once colonized by the French. The era I am most interested in begins when French West Africa, the federation of colonies Senegal was a part of, began its plans for a comprehensive education system throughout the federation in 1903. There has been scholarship done on Senegal’s education system, but not much on how language was used to assimilate and manipulate students within these schools. I hope to fill in this gap and I plan on using concepts from sociolinguistics and child development in my research to discover how and why schools tried to assimilate children into the French Empire. My Mellon Mays Research Project will bring a new understanding to language learning, one that has not been researched much before and one that will hopefully bring more people to realize how easy it is to abuse the power of language.