Language conference explores digital world

Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak

Exploring how language and literature in the digital age can amplify ideas and opinions is the main focus of the International Conference on Language and Literature 2020 (ICLL 2020) at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) recently.

ICLL 2020 co-convener Dr Rabiah Tul Adawiyah Mohamed Salleh said with IIUM holding the responsibility as an Islamic institution, the conference hoped to deconstruct the narrative that Muslims are socially and culturally stagnant.

“Among the ideas that have been mediated and amplified by digital technologies and which has been the main motivation for us to organise this conference is Islamophobia. We acknowledge the role of the Internet and social media in the propagation of Islamophobic ideas.”

Themed “Digital Trends in Language and Literature: Asia in the 21st Century”, the three-day conference is a collaborative effort of IIUM’s Department of English Language and Literature with the Bilingual Research Lab of Western Sydney University, Australia and Jinan University, Guangzhou, China.

A total of 102 papers were presented, covering topics such as language learning, language pedagogy, language policy, learning technology, discourse analysis, literature and literary interpretation on digital technologies.

(Seated, from left) Professor Hart Cohen, Professor Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf, Dr Rabiah Tul Adawiyah Mohamed Salleh, Associate Professor Dr Aini Maznina A Manaf, Datuk Dr Daud Abu Bakar, Associate Professor Dr Ruying Qi, Associate Professor Dr Bruno Di Biase, Dr Siti Nuraishah Ahmad, Associate Professor Satomi Kawaguchi and Dr Rusaslina Idrus at the launch of the International Conference on Language and Literature 2020 at International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, recently.IIUM’s Kulliyyah of Islamic and Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences deputy dean, Associate Professor Dr Aini Maznina A Manaf, said the digital era has seen rapid innovations in the usage of English.

“English is no longer colonial-based, but a powerful tool for writing back to the imperial centre, reclaiming identities, forging global citizenships, reaching out to diverse communities and mobilising ideas and actions.”

In a keynote speech, IIUM rector Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Datuk Dzulkifli Abdul Razak highlighted the importance of striking a balance between the humanities and the sciences as the nation moves towards a more digitalised era.

“Trans-disciplinary studies, which allow the comprehension of knowledge in the convergence of disciplines, are best in preparing the nation to take advantage of the increasing knowledge of the world.”

Keynote speakers included Professor Hart Cohen and Associate Professor Dr Satomi Kawaguchi from Western Sydney University.

The event attracted more than 100 participants from universities in Malaysia and 16 other countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Oman, China and France.

Selected papers are set to be published in top journals, including Translation and Interpreting, Journal of Huayu Teaching, Chinese Journal of Language Policy and Planning and IIUM’s own peer-reviewed online journal, Asiatic.

Other highlight of the conference was the Travel Poetry book launch by IIUM deputy rector (internationalisation and global network) Professor Nor Faridah Abdul Manaf with National.

By Rayyan Rafidi.

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