First event in the NOS-HS workshop series
‘The Politics and Ideologies of Multilingual Writing’
Maria Kuteeva, Sanne Larsen, Taina Saarinen (coordinator)
(Academy of Finland / NOS-HS, grant number 335154)

The goal of our first workshop is to delve into translocalities and translingualisms of writing: what does translocality imply for writing that has traditionally been based on localised institutions such as universities, publishing houses or print media? How are our localised writing practices now challenged by translocal and translingual practices? What are the implications of translocal and translingual writing to legitimacies or writers and publishers in different individual and institutional settings? The expected outcome of the first workshop is a conceptualisation of legitimacies of translocal and translingual writing, writers, and a set of questions for the next workshop on identities and belonging. 

 If you are interested in attending the plenaries, please send an email to

Day 1: 27 May 2021

13:00 – Opening plenary for Day 1, Anna Kristina Hultgren, the Open University, UK
Beyond multilingual practices: A call for interdisciplinarity

Day 2: 28 May

9:00 – Opening plenary for Day 2, Stefan Helgesson, Stockholm University
Linguality, Lingualism, Multilingualism: A Literary Approach

13:00 – Plenary 2, Adnan Mahmutović, Stockholm University
To the Word-Woods & Back

18:00 – Closing plenary, Suresh Canagarajah, Pennsylvania State University
Positioning Multilingual Writing between the Local and the Translocal

NB! All times below are provided for Sweden, summer time: GMT+2; Finland: GMT+3; UK: GMT+1, Pennsylvania GMT-4


Plenary talks:

Anna Kristina Hultgren, The Open University
Beyond multilingual practices: A call for interdisciplinarity

Globalization – a set of political, economic and societal transformations that have made the world more interconnected – has prompted socio- and applied linguists to revisit established ideas about language. Whilst conceptualizations of languages as discrete and enumerable entities persist at an ideological level, the “trans-super-poly-metro movement” (Pennycook 2016) foregrounds multilingual, translingual and hybrid practices. In this talk, I will argue that whilst this movement, and the wider “turn to practice” in the social and human sciences within which it is situated, is welcome and has empirical purchase, it need not and should not come at the expense of attention to the structures and systems that form the backdrop to these multilingual practices. I suggest that, in addition to asking, “how do writers navigate translocality through their multilingual practices?”, we also need to ask, “how did these multilingual practices get here in the first place?”. I argue that paying attention to power and governance, to structures and systems, alongside individual multilingual agency is paramount if we want linguistics to make a difference in the world. In short, my talk argues for taking seriously calls for socio- and applied linguistics to pay heed to the political economy (Gal 1989; Holborrow 2015; Block 2018). I conclude by proposing some ways forward that centre on genuine interdisciplinarity.


Block, David. 2018. Political Economy and Sociolinguistics: Neoliberalism, Inequality and Social Class. Bloomsbury.

Gal, Susan. 1989. Language and political economy. Annual Review of Anthropology, 18: 345–367.

Holborrow, Marnie. 2015. Language and Neoliberalism. Routledge.

Pennycook, Alistair. 2016. Mobile times, mobile terms: The trans-super-poly-metro movement. In Sociolinguistics: Theoretical Debates, edited by N. Coupland, 201–216. Cambridge University Press.

Anna Kristina Hultgren
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Professor of Sociolinguistics, The Open University, UK.
Kristina (DPhil, Oxon; MA, Copenhagen) is a sociolinguist researching the impact of globalization on language and communication. Kristina is currently leading a UKRI-funded project which brings together linguistics and political science to gain a deeper understanding of the drivers of English as a Medium of Instruction in European Higher Education. Kristina has published her work in the Journal of Sociolinguistics and Language in Society. She is co-editor of The Inner World of Gatekeeping in Scholarly Publication (with P. Habibie 2021); English-Medium Instruction in European Higher Education (with S. Dimova and C. Jensen 2015) and English in Nordic Universities: Ideologies and Practices (with F. Gregersen and J. Thøgersen, 2014). Kristina serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of English-Medium Instruction, Journal of Applied Language Studies, Journal of English for Research Publication Purposes and the Routledge Studies in English-Medium Instruction.

Stefan Helgesson, Stockholm University 
Linguality, Lingualism, Multilingualism: A Literary Approach

While the discipline of linguistics has developed a highly differentiated methodology to investigate mutlilingualism in practice and in theory, a parallel debate has evolved in recent years among literary scholars. A question I will ask in this lecture is whether literary approaches to multilingualism can lay claim to any specific methodological insights in the broad church of language studies. Moving from Yasemin Yildiz’s work on the “postmonolingual condition” in Beyond the Mother Tongue (2012) to current interventions in “multilingual philology” (mainly by Robert Stockhammer and Till Dembeck), the lecture will focus specifically on Stockhammer’s intriguing distinction between “linguality” and “lingualism”. What does this distinction imply? Does it hold? The lecture will suggest, tentatively, that the relational concept of the “vernacular” may help to ground these terms in literary practice as well as social relations, thereby rescuing them from the fate of sheer abstraction.

Stefan Helgesson is professor of English at Stockholm University. His most recent publications include Literature and the World(2020, co-authored with Mads Rosendahl Thomsen) and the co-edited Handbook of Anglophone World Literatures (2020, with Birgit Neumann and Gabriele Rippl). He currently leads the Swedish research programme “Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literatures”, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Adnan Mahmutović,  Stockholm University
To the Word-Woods & Back

In this talk I aim to follow a trajectory of a writing path almost two decades long. This writing is done in my third language (English), in Sweden, but published largely in the UK and the USA. I will use a few specific locations – bus, graveyard, woods – to trace the ways settings become transnational and consequently affect language, style, and form. I will use three personal essays on language which capture three different stages in my views on language but also showcase different stages of confidence and authenticity in the transformative use of language.

Adnan Mahmutović is an associate professor of English literature and creative writing at Stockholm University.  His fiction and creative non-fiction includes Thinner than a Hair (2010), How to fare Well and Stay fair (2012), At the Feet of Mothers (2020). His stories and creative non-fiction appear widely in the UK and US magazines, and his essay “Comics, War and Ordinary Miracles” has been adapted for BBC Radio. He is a recipient of many awards for fiction and has served as a judge on a number of literary prizes, including Neustadt Prize for Literature. His academic work includes Ways of Being Free (2012), Future in Comics (2017), Craft of Editing(2019), Claiming Space: Locations and Orientations in World Literature (2021 forthcoming).

Suresh Canagarajah,  Pennsylvania State University
Positioning Multilingual Writing between the Local and the Translocal

For multilingual scholars in English academic writing, conforming fully to the established norms (which are actually local to certain privileged communities in North America) or to their own local norms are not good options. They both lead to different forms of marginalization. However, negotiating the dominant norms for voice doesn’t present a uniform strategy that is suitable for all multilingual writers. The variable positionings between the local and established norms depend on diverse personal, historical, and ideological considerations. Since it is difficult to criticize the legitimacy of positions that are preferred by other writers, I turn my critical gaze reflexively to my own variable positions in my teaching and writing. I analyze how I have evolved along the following trajectories: diversifying style and not “standard English”; codemeshing with the increasing use of Sri Lankan English and local languages; modifying genre norms; and making space for more multimodal resources. That I have increasingly become more experimental and resistant is partly explained by what is becoming legitimate in academic writing over time, with past experimentation making space for new possibilities. 

Suresh Canagarajah is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English, Applied Linguistics, and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He teaches courses in World Englishes, Multilingual Writing, Language Socialization, Rhetoric/Composition, and Postcolonial Studies. Suresh comes from the Tamil-speaking northern region of Sri Lanka. He taught earlier in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and the City University of New York. He was formerly the editor of the TESOL Quarterly and President of the American Association of Applied Linguistics. His edited book Routledge Handbook on Language and Migration (Routledge 2017) won the 2020 best book award from the American Association of Applied Linguistics.