Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera

Mar 4, 2023

Decolonizing American Spanish

Eurocentrism and the Limits of Foreignness in the Imperial Ecosystem

University of Pittsburgh Press 2022

Jeffrey joins the podcast to discuss the prevalence of English in the academic ecosystem and in research publishing. Jeffrey critiques the lackadaisical approach US institutions take towards Spanish language content and research and makes a strong argument to follow the Puerto-Rican model which sees greater opportunity, equality, and sophistication in multilingual academic research. About his book:

Despite a pronounced shift away from Eurocentrism in Spanish and Hispanic studies departments in US universities, many implicit and explicit vestiges of coloniality remain firmly in place. While certain national and linguistic expressions are privileged, others are silenced with predictable racial and gendered results. 

Decolonizing American Spanish: Eurocentrism and the Limits of Foreignness in the Imperial Ecosystem (U Pittsburgh Press, 2022) challenges not only the hegemony of Spain and its colonial pedagogies, but also the characterization of Spanish as a foreign language in the United States. By foregrounding Latin American cultures and local varieties of Spanish and reconceptualizing the foreign as domestic, Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera works to create new conceptual maps, revise inherited ones, and institutionalize marginalized and silenced voices and their stories. Considering the University of Puerto Rico as a point of context, this book brings attention to how translingual solidarity and education, a commitment to social transformation, and the engagement of student voices in their own languages can reinvent colonized education.

Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera is Professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez.

Avi Staiman is the founder and CEO of Academic Language Experts.

Listen to more episodes on: