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In this Cross-London Sociolinguistics Seminar, Dr Antonia Dawes, Lecturer in Social Justice at King’s, presents her recent research and work.

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in multi-ethnic street markets in Naples, this talk focuses on different kinds of opaque, multilingual talk in fraught interactions. It draws on the work of Édouard Glissant, who argued that novel forms of multilingualism emerged despite, and because of, the oppression and unfreedom of colonialism as a ‘violent sign of [the] consensual, not imposed, sharing’ of different cultures and languages (1997:34).

For Glissant, multilingualism required an attitude towards understanding interactions across the boundaries of difference that allowed itself to remain ‘opaque’, paying attention to the texture of the weave between people and not seeking to clarify and elucidate everything. The opaque, playful, and risky transcultural dynamics that were witnessed generated a linguistic ‘edginess’ that opposed imperialism, reconquering the memory of common oppression.

Book your place for the online event here.


  • Dawes, A. (2020) Race Talk: Languages of racism and resistance in Neapolitan street markets,  Manchester University Press.
  • Glissant, É. 1997 Poetics of Relation, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
  • Glissant, É.1981 Le Discours Antillais [The West Indian Discourse], Paris: Gallimard.

Glissant’s book Poetics of Relation can be downloaded here.

At this event

Antonia Dawes

Lecturer in Social Justice

Event details