Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter takes medieval Iberia, a transnational space of ‘global’ movements and dynamic cultural exchange, as its starting point for thinking about the ethics of studying and teaching languages and cultures, particularly those of historical periods. Advocating a transnational approach that goes beyond single national languages, it considers the transmission of the collection of moral fables know as Kalila wa-Dimna, which has Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit origins, and whose own translation history provides a metafictional commentary on the ethics of cross-cultural encounters and exchange. The chapter suggests that including materials in languages not traditionally brought into ML degree programmes (e.g., Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Sanskrit) foregrounds the entanglement of national or regional histories and stresses the interconnectedness of cultures across time and space, destabilizing received notions of hermetically sealed national cultures. And furthermore, that such an approach, which decentres the European focus of the discipline, is one way to engage students of diverse heritages. The chapter concludes by arguing that it is our ethical duty as a discipline to ensure that what and how we teach reflects not only the plurality and diversity of the past but also the contemporary classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransnational Modern Languages: A Handbook
EditorsJenny Burns, Derek Duncan
Place of PublicationLiverpool
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Number of pages111
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameTransnational Modern Languages

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