Language and gender in North Africa
contextualising an emerging discipline
Keywords:language and gender, North Africa, underrepresentation, International Gender and Language Association (IGALA), multilingualism, linguistic agency
This essay investigates and contextualises the emergence and evolution of the discipline of ‘Language and Gender’ in North Africa in an attempt to remedy the underrepresentation of this region in scholarship. I ground this essay in my experiences with Language and Gender in Morocco and the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA), both of which were central in shaping my academic journey. The pre- and post-Uprisings periods surrounding what is often discussed as the ‘Arab Spring’ in the early 2010s carried serious consequences for the emergence of Language and Gender as a discipline. These moments and my involvement in them were deeply impacted by specific historical, sociopolitical and intellectual dimensions, most saliently the women’s movement and the discipline of linguistics. My essay draws on these experiences to advocate for the importance of decolonising the international language and gender canon with North African perspectives that move beyond English and the Global North.
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