With reference to the author’s experience with English and other languages, this essay reflects on the problem of American monolingualism and explores modes of learned critical attention to the work language does in society, examining writing by Kenneth Burke, Raymond Williams, Erich Auerbach, and Sheldon Pollock.
Ways of Working with Language
Jonathan Arac is Mellon Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where he founded the Humanities Center and directed it from 2008 to 2020. He has served on the boundary 2 masthead since 1979. In 2007, he joined the Keywords Project, which produced Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by Colin MacCabe and Holly Yanacek (2018). A second phase of the Keywords Project involves work with colleagues in India and Sri Lanka on South Asian Englishes. He notes with regret the death of George Steiner, whose After Babel he hopes to discuss elsewhere.
Jonathan Arac; Ways of Working with Language. boundary 2 1 February 2021; 48 (1): 3–15. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-8821389
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