POSTPONED "RIP English": Race, class and 'good English' in India (MOSAIC Seminar)

224 Education Building, Zoom
Thursday 29 February 2024 (15:00-16:30)
Dr Katy Highet, University of the West of Scotland
Dr Katy Highet, Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland

MOSAIC Group for Research on Multilingualism Seminar Series 2023-24

Speaker: Dr Katy Highet, Lecturer, University of the West of Scotland

This presentation explores how discourses of “bad” English in India are mobilized in ways that allow actors to negotiate their status as English speakers. Drawing on a YouTube video from a popular streamer from Mumbai, I show how the co-naturalization of language and race shapes assessments of competency and legitimacy, and how this is mitigated through anti-Blackness and appeals to class status. These judgments of “good” and “bad” English work to reassert and undermine racialized authority over the language and position actors within an imagined, global stratified community of speakers. This ambivalent positioning not only helps actors negotiate relational legitimacy as English speakers but also works strategically to benefit certain speakers and reproduce colonial, class, and racial orders.


Dr Katy Highet is a Lecturer in English Language & TESOL at the University of the West of Scotland, and was previously an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at UCL Institute of Education. She is currently leading a Carnegie Trust funded research project on ESOL and activism in Glasgow. Her research interests lie in Critical Sociolinguistics, Ethnography, Political Economy, Language Ideologies, and Critique. Her work has been published in the Journal of Sociolinguistics, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, London Review of Education, and Routledge edited volumes. 

All welcome at this free seminar. Those who register will be sent ZOOM and venue details in the confirmation email.