JOPOL 1(2019)

The Decoloniality of Language and Translanguaging: Latinx Knowledge-Production

“Our positionings on language and linguistics and on language education are linked to how we have lived and the relationships we have had. Chicana and black feminist scholars (Collins 1990, Moraga & AnzaldĂșa 1983), as well as many Latin American decolonial theorists (for example, Dussel 1994, Mignolo 2000), remind us that we always speak from our positions within the power structures. The purpose of this paper is to describe through our own positionalities how Latin American theories of decoloniality differ from those of post-colonialism and have shaped our concepts of language, and especially of the language and language education of U.S. Latinx. We are a team of an older Latina scholar, born in Cuba but raised in New York, and a young Latino scholar, born in Barranquilla, Colombia, who came to New York three years ago to pursue a doctorate. We take the point of view of the Martinican scholar Frantz Fanon ([1952] 1986) and of the Chicana Gloria AnzaldĂșa (1987) that our epistemologies have to do with how we have experienced ourselves as racial/ethnic/sexual bodies, that is, with our BODY-POLITICS OF KNOWLEDGE. It is by telling our stories jointly that we position ourselves with regards to language and language education. We begin here by sharing our lived experiences. We then describe the ways in which Latin American scholars have addressed coloniality/decoloniality. Although this scholarship addresses the invisibility of epistemologies other than those emanating from western/northern countries, it has said little about how language has operated in this silencing. We propose that the concept of translanguaging, emerging from these theories and our own-body politics fills this gap.”