SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar brings world literature expertise to major language and creativity project

7 April 2016

Professor Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS University of London has joined a major interdisciplinary research project on creative multilingualism, led by University of Oxford funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Professor Ouyang will be working with Dr Jane Hiddleston from Oxford on world literature, one of the strands of research in the project. The scholars will explore the transformative effects of the interaction between multiple languages as they meet within literary texts and creative writing.

Using the modern period from the nineteenth century to the present as the temporal framework, Professor Ouyang and Professor Hiddleston will examine the flowering of multilingualism inherent in a single linguistic system such as French or Spanish, or in one regional cultural complex such as the Arab world, and the impact of this on linguistic, literary and cultural creativity.

This major project forms part of the Open World Research Initiative, together with programmes led by Cambridge, King’s College London and Manchester. Over four years, scholars in the fields of Modern Languages, Linguistics, English, Anthropology and Biology will seek to raise the profile and visibility of languages, investigating their importance in an increasingly global society that depends on effective communication and the scope to express diverse identities.

Working in partnership with the British Council, schools, arts organisations including English PEN and Sputnik Theatre, GCHQ and business organisations, the researchers will establish an enhanced understanding of ways in which linguistic diversity interacts with creativity in our thinking, social interaction, cultural life and global engagement.

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Learn more about programmes in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures .