Eric Dursteler, "A place that very well represents the Tower of Babel": Linguistic Pluralism and the Ecology of Language in the Early Modern Mediterranean

Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University
Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Early Modern Studies Program
Friday, November 8, 2013

2 pm

Towner Fellows Lounge

Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University

In the modern era one of the primary markers of national identity, the very stuff of blood and belonging, is language. There has been a tendency to project modern readings—or misreadings—of language onto earlier times; however, recent scholarship has suggested that the early modern linguistic world was in fact much more variegated. This is especially evident in the Mediterranean basin, a space which struck contemporaries as something akin to the tower of Babel. In the Mediterranean, language did not function as a primary identity marker; rather, linguistic frontiers were much more fluid. The region’s lengthy but porous borders and its high level of mobility and connectedness created a setting in which linguistic diversity remained a fundamental and familiar feature, rather than a cultural barrier, and in which multilingualism and other communication strategies arose in order to navigate this dynamic environment.

A reception will follow the lecture.

Learn more about our speaker: Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University

Cosponsored with Northwestern University.

Faculty and graduate students of Center for Renaissance Studies consortium institutions may be eligible to apply for travel funds to attend CRS programs or to do research at the Newberry. Each member university sets its own policies and deadlines; contact your Representative Council member in advance for details.

Cost and registration information: 

This program is free and open to the public.