Organized Panel Session
The purview of much of the scholarship on language politics has been the nation-state. Linguistic rationalization in the form of language standardization and linguistic homogeneity have been assumed necessary ingredients for nation-state building. The premises of this model of language politics in modern nation-states have been challenged and adapted in Asia, where language policies are most often developed in a context of immense diversity. The papers in this panel analyze these challenges and adaptations in terms of their spatial, temporal and demographic dimensions. They examine the tension between diversity, often identified linguistically, and language policies, both historical and contemporary. The paper presenters find that language policies not only can enhance or suppress linguistic diversity depending on policy goals, but more importantly they affect how linguistic identity is constructed and conceived. In turn, identity constructions feed into language policy-making in contexts of diversity. The take-away from all the papers is that linguistic diversity and identity are constantly changing, and hence language politics in Asian contexts are fluid and dynamic. The papers vary according to the temporal dimension of language policy and linguistic identity construction (e.g., colonial, national and post-national), as well as the spatial dimension (local, regional, national, international) and the demographic dimension (e.g., diaspora and immigrant populations). The case studies presented in these papers are diverse as well, ranging from South Asia to Southeast Asia to East Asia.