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LANGSCAPE

LANGSCAPE History

Langscape started research activities on language acquisition / language learning and their impact on language communities with a core group of three European partners (France, Germany, Spain) in 1998.They first operated under the acronym EUFOR ( = Europäisches Forschungskolleg), but soon realized that this acronym already was “owned” by the European Union’s Security and Defence Department. Several brainstorming activities later, “Langscape” was dreamed up in 2002, clearly denoting the network’s interest in the diversity of the wide-ranging landscape of languages. Spanning nearly two decades, Langscape today is home to researchers and language education professionals from more than a dozen countries, extending across Europe with ties to North America, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia.

Langscape’s initial impetus arose from research partnerships initiated by the Universities of Besançon, France (Gisèle Holtzer) and Bremen, Germany (Gerhard Bach, Michael Wendt), soon after to be joined by Alcalá de Henares, Spain (Anna Halbach). Network coordinators have been Michael Wendt (1998-2004), Gerhard Bach (University of Bremen, 2004-2009), Dagmar Abendroth-Timmer (University of Siegen, 2009-2013), and until Lutz Küster's retirement in 2018 the team of Stephan Breidbach & Lutz Küster (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 2013-2018). Since autumn 2018 Stephan Breidbach acts as network coordinator.

Inspired and coordinated by Michael Wendt until his untimely death in 2004, research activities have ranged from individual small scale local projects to bi- and tri-national project partnerships to the implementation and support of bi-national M.A. and Ph.D. degree programs. It was Wendt’s unwavering optimism and resolve that such programs would succeed if boosted by serious scholarship accessible to academic communities beyond local perimeters. The partnership of Wendt, with a background in Romance Studies, and Bach, with a background in Anglo-American Studies, came to fruition in several conferences held semi-annually in partner cities, where scholars – seniors and novices alike – could present their research to the scrutiny of peers. The predominant idea that has helped trim the sails of Langscape since its founding is that of multilingualism, seen as a promoter of social cohesion, a personal asset in terms of individual plurilingualism, and, last but not least, a reality exemplified in the academic fields of language learning and language education studies. Langscape research and educational activities have always purported a commitment to linguistic inter- and transdisciplinary diversity emerging at the contact-zone of international academic exchange.

Langscape’s early history and its development towards becoming an internationally acclaimed research network has found no better recognition than in its numerous publications: from its inception in 1998, the network’s original publication outlet has been Kolloquium Fremdsprachenunterricht (Peter Lang, 64 volumes to date), publishing both monographs and collections focussing on specific topics and current issues. Other publication venues have been added to the Langscape portfolio, the most recent being the newly launched peer-reviewed, multilingual online journal Language Education and Multilingualism.

Langscape has always been a vital and vibrant research and exchange platform, for younger scholars as much as for experienced researchers. Expert knowledge is generated through the processing of ideas generated inside and outside the box. As a community, Langscapers cherish the opportunities for the exchange of ideas the network provides.

 

Author: Gerhard Bach (text last updated by Florian Möller in January 2019)