Call for papers

Bilingual conference (French/English)

December 4-6 2008, Paris, France


Anthropology, interculturality and language learning and teaching


Organised by:




















POSTER (please print and display!)


Meeting description


« (…) the array of methods, observations and analyses available through anthropology can help us to explain the complexity of a contemporary world which witnesses contradictory movements of the explosion of diversity and the end of boundaries » Augé & Colleyn


This is how one of the latest books which synthesizes the role of anthropology (The Work of the Anthropologist (2006, Berg Publishers) justifies the importance of anthropology in our contemporary worlds. Could the argument of the French anthropologists Marc Augé and Jean-Paul Colleyn explain why anthropology and its methods have been introduced (sometimes frenziedly) in language learning and teaching, especially since the arrival of the much lauded concept of interculturality in its didactics, which ‘preaches’ the acceptance and respect of diversity, but struggles to connect discourse and acts?


Worldwide scientific literature in didactics but also applied linguistics provides many examples of the introduction of anthropology in teaching/learning programmes:


    -    Anthropology of the distant other (Jane Jackson in Hong Kong);

-   Anthropology of the near (Judith Humery & Fred Dervin in Finland, method based on the study of non-places);

-   Anthropology of mobilities and intercultural encounters (Celia Roberts, Michael Byram, Ano Barro, Shirley Jordan et Brain Street 2000; Mike Berry 2008);

-   Cyberanthropology (internet, asynchronous fora, videoconference, Second Life... O’Dowd, 2007) ;

-   Auto-ethnography (use of personal diaries, Marie-José Barbot 2006);

-   Anthropology done by teaching staff and researchers in the classroom (Anna Triantaphyllou 2002);

-   Problem-based anthropologies such as the one theorized by Martine Abdallah-Pretceille which moves away from a descriptive ethnology (2003: 17).


The purpose of this bilingual conference is to examine the miscellaneous ways of using such a complex discipline as anthropology and its methods in language learning and teaching and to gather some of the leading specialists interested in these methods. The conference has its roots in a cooperative project on cyberanthropology between the Universities of Paris 8 and Turku, Finland (ACoNte, MSH Paris Nord) and in dramatic developments in the use of anthropology witnessed in language learning and teaching in the past few years.


Papers should address research questions, including but not limited to the following topics:


-        Types of anthropological methods (interview, active/ peripheral (participation-) observation…) and complementary methods of analysis (semiotics, discourse analysis) used;

-        The teaching and learning of these approaches/methods in language learning and teaching;

-        Contexts/fields in which the approaches/methods are used (far, near, places, non-places...);

- The role and contribution of new technologies in the use of anthropology (fields: Second Life, pod-/videocasting; collection tools: digital cameras, digital voice recorders...);

- Impacts of these methods on learners and teaching staff in the long run;

- Language and intercultural autonomous learning and anthropology;

- Issues raised by the use of anthropological methods in language learning and teaching. For teaching staff? Learners? Observed individuals ? (generalisations, ethical problems, face loss...) :

- Establishment of links between e.g. participation-observation and results;

- Learning objectives in terms of intercultural, plurlingual, pragmatic, linguistic, academic competences) and their integration/progression in curricula;

- Assessment.


The topic of training teaching staff for these methods can also be discussed.


Invited speakers:


·        Martine Abdallah-Pretceille, Professor, Universities of Paris 3 & Paris 8, France

·        Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Professor of social anthropology, University of Oslo (Norway) and Vrije Universiteit d’Amsterdam (The Netherlands);

·        Shirley Jordan, Reader in French, Queen Mary, University of London, Great-Britain:

'Ethnography in a Changing World: Theory, Practice, Context'


Submissions in English or in French are invited in the following categories:


(1) Research papers (20 minutes + 15 minutes for questions)

These papers should document established results and/or present theoretical reflections.

(2) Presentations on work in progress (20 minutes + 10 minutes for questions and comments from audience)

These papers may address issues still being worked upon.

The author(s) should submit one 300-word abstract by e-mail ( and by 15 May 2008. The abstract should include: 

- the name, institution phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of each author; 
- the title; 

- objectives or purposes; 
- perspective(s) or theoretical framework; 
- methods, techniques, or modes of inquiry; 
- data sources or evidence; 
- (results and/or conclusions/point of view)

Abstracts will be reviewed by the scientific committee for originality, significance, clarity and academic rigour. Links with theory must be explicit.

Authors are requested to submit their papers before the conference (November 15 2008). A publication of the proceedings with refereed status will follow the conference.


Important dates:

  • Abstract Submissions: 15 May 2008
  • Registration from 1 April 2008
  • Paper submissions: 15 November 2008
  • Conference: 4-6 December 2008


Scientific committee:


·        Martine Abdallah-Pretceille, Université de Paris 3 & 8, France 

·        Marie-José Barbot, Université de Lille 3, France 

·        Michael Byram, University of Durham, Great-Britain

·        Fred Dervin, Département détudes françaises, Université de Turku, Finlande

·        Béatrice Fracchiolla, Université de Paris 8, France

·        Gilberte Furstenberg, MIT, USA

·        Esmeralda Lopes Rosa, Department of English, University of the Algarve, Portugal



Contacts (organisers):

·        Fred Dervin, Senior lecturer, Juslenia, 20014 University of Turku, Finland ; tel : +358 2 3336041, fax : +358 2 3336560, e-mail :

·        Béatrice Fracchiolla, Associate Professor, Département de ComFle, Université de Paris 8, 2 Rue de la Liberté, 93200 Saint-Denis, France, Tel : +33678140072,