Center for the Study of Superdiversity

Past activities Babylon


The 6th International Conference on Multicultural Discourses


Ton Vallen Award 2017

The winner of the Ton Vallen Award 2017 is Gao Shuang: "Interactional straining and the neoliberal self: Learning English in the biggest English corner in China.

Symposium on Scales, Language and Spatiotemporal Organisation

Paul Mutsaers on Global Perspectives on Policing Cities

DCU member Paul Mutsaers in a live streamed public event on Global Perspectives on Policing Cities, at the Danish Institute for International Studies (Copenhagen), with Peter Albrecht, Helene Maria Kyed, Steffen Jensen, Mette-Louise Johansen, and Maya Mynster Christensen.

Conference on Linguistic Diversity and Asylum

  • October 26-27, 2017

Research Impact in Action Workshop: Refugees, New Speakers and Global Law


Ton Vallen Award 2016

The winner of this year's award is James Costa:

Can schools dispense with standard language? Some unintended consequences of introducing Scots in an Scottish primary school

Seminar Criminal Justice and Mental Health: Contributions from an Applied Anthropology of Police

Symposium Class, the Public Sphere and Political Debate

Book review

In Border Criminologies: Review of A Public Anthropology of Policing: Law Enforcement and Migrants in the Netherlands by Paul Mutsaers.

Language and Superdiversity

Edited by Karel Arnaut, Jan Blommaert, Ben Rampton & Massimiliano Spotti (2016, Routledge)

COST Action 1S1306 - New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe

Symposium Translanguaging and repertoires across signed and spoken languages

  • June 20-21, 2016

InCoLaS meeting, June 2-3, 2016, Copenhagen

"We Need a New Language": Listen to the Third Annual Neville Alexander Seminar at UCT

Interview (in Dutch) Max Spotti and Jef Van der Aa in 'One World, Research': "Ik ben bang dat alle Syrische vluchtelingen in één hokje belanden"


Who's interested in... C. Wright Mills

  • Wednesday November 4, 13:00 - 14:30 hrs, Room D352
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Who's interested in... Max Weber

  • Wednesday September 30, 11:00 - 12:30 hrs, Room D352

Max Weber is, along with Durkheim and Simmel, seen as one of the founding fathers of modern sociology, and his work contains ideas and statements that continue to resonate well over a century after they were written down. In this informal seminar, Tom van Nuenen and Jan Blommaert will discuss some of the context in which Weber operated, and engage with some of Weber’s central and influential views. 

Summer School "Dealing with Cultural Diversity: Theory and Practice"

  • From July 20 until August 14, 2015

First syposium on Morocco Studies

On Friday May 22, Tilburg University witnessed the first symposium on Morocco Studies, organized by Babylon. The symposium brought together researchers on topics related to the multicultural society, and more specifically to the Moroccan community in the Netherlands and Flanders (Abderrahman El Aissati, Guus Extra, Angéla Suarez Collado, Jan Jaap de Ruiter, Paolo de Mas, Fatiha el Maymouni, Mohamed Essanoussi, Harry Stroomer, Khalid Mourigh, Anneleen Boderé, Youssef Azghari, Luc Goossens, Fauzaya Talhaoui, Mena Lafkioui, Nadia Fadil).

The symposium is the starting point for the creation of a Benelux network of researchers on this community.

InCoLaS meeting: The NWO Int.Hum grant wishes to address formal, non-formal and informal "spaces of learning" in conditions of superdiversity

Our working assumption is that socio-cultural spaces, both on and off-line, are spaces of learning where no one comes in as a fully proficient user, rather these are places where tangible formal learning often comes together with unexpected episodes of non-formal and informal learning.

The case studies that will be dealt with during the meeting contain a rich amount of data drawn from both on and off-line environments where creativity, unpredictability and complexity appear to be key features. Everyday learning moments emerge as chronotopical by-products of shifts taking place at other scale levels. The ultimate purpose of the meeting is to take stock of this all and re-evaluate what 'learning' actually means in conditions of superdiversity.

  • Thursday May 21 − Business meeting
  • Friday May 22 − Presentations: open to all
  • Program (update 20-5-2015) and abstracts

Jan Blommaert's seminar on Howard Becker's "Outsiders"

  • Click here to listen to Jan Blommaert’s seminar, recorded on February 10.

Virginia Hymes (1923-2015)

It is with tremendous sadness that the Babylon people learn about the passing of Virginia Hymes, scholar, teacher, mentor and wife to Dell Hymes.

After she married Dell in 1954 she became a life-long collaborator and activist, focusing mostly on language and social issues and a brilliant analyst of Native American oratory in her own right. As a teacher of anthropology and linguistics, she supervised and inspired hundreds of students to deliver the most excellent work in what she and Dell often referred to as 'verse analysis', and later on as 'ethnopoetics'. Their joint attempt to develop ethnopoetics as a way of analyzing discourse in other languages such as English, has had a profound impact on the way we see narrative today and has informed the ethnographic study of inequality.

At the 2009 AAA meetings in Philadelphia, where a panel was kept in her honor, I also learnt what a kind person she was. A month or so before the meetings, I had inquired to see if at all it would be possible to bring out Dell to the meetings, whom I had never met. She said she would do so 'if he had a good day'. Three weeks before the conference, Dell passed away. At the memorial kept in his honour I told her how much I was inspired by a response letter he had sent me as an undergrad student, one page answering my question and twenty pages about why I should become an anthropologist. Academic life was important and meaningful to the Hymes'. May they rest in peace.

We express our deep sympathies and condolences with the Hymes family , the Anthropology department at the University of Virginia and the undoubtedly large community of friends.

Jef Van der Aa

Seminar: Cultural Investigations and Analyses (CIA)

  • March 5, 15:00 - 16:30 hrs, room PZ008
  • Topic: The work of the social psychologist Erich Fromm (1900-1980)
  • Speaker: Dr. Jef Van der Aa

Joshua Fishman (1926-2015)

It is with deep regret that we learn about the death of Joshua Fishman, age 88.

Few scholars have ever had an impact as deep and pervasive on a discipline as did Joshua Fishman on sociolinguistics and the sociology of language. A true founding father of these disciplines, Fishman cut out the paths into the dense forest of phenomena and issues that characterized first-generation sociolinguistics, offering cases - his oeuvre is baffling in size and scope - as well as directions and methodological guidelines. Fields such as language planning and policy studies, societal multilingualism and demolinguistics could not have taken off but for his inspiring and vigorous groundbreaking efforts. His influence is pervasive and lasting.

The Babylon staff express their deep sympathies with Joshua Fishman's widow, family and friends, as well as with the large community of direct and indirect students of Fishman's, who lose a visionary intellectual leader and an inspiring and generous friend.

Jan Blommaert

Current views on Cultural Diversity in Organizations: An interdisciplinary symposium

  • February 11, 2015, 13:00-18:00 hrs
  • Speakers: Fons van de Vijver & Leon Jackson, Jef Van der Aa & Jan Blommaert, Claudia Toma, Julia Becker, Regina Kempen & Karsten Müller
  • More information: program and abstracts

Ton Vallen Award 2014

The winner of this year's award is Lian Malai Madsen: "High" and "low" in urban Danish speech styles

Babylon round-table: New literacies, new learning

  • Thursday, December 4

New technologies such as internet- driven and mobile communication platforms have triggered, and are triggering, new forms of multimodal and multimedial literacy. Often these new forms of literacy are learned informally, in peer-to-peer contexts or through normative convergence in massive use. While these new literacies have received some scholarly attention, the learning practices underpinning them have so far been poorly addressed. Fie Velghe's PhD study (to be defended on December 3) breaks ground in this direction, investigating in great detail the everyday informal learning practices of middle-aged women in a Cape Town township, learning how to use mobile texting functions.

In this Babylon round-table, we gather some of the world's most outstanding scholars in this field and engage with them in a dialogue on the possibilities and constraints of new literacies and the new learning practices they involve.

The round-table line-up: Mastin Prinsloo (University of Cape Town), Gunther Kress (Institute of Education, London), Jeanne Kurvers (Tilburg University), Fie Velghe (Tilburg University), Jan Blommaert (chair, Tilburg University).

Paul Mutsaers on 'From the Field: Psychological Operations and the Policing of Migrants in the Netherlands'

Babylon subscribes to the slow science vision of research

Massimiliano Spotti on 'Identiteit, veronderstelde waarheden en de politiek van de verdenking'

Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in...?": 20th Century Concepts of Freedom

  • June 18, 2014, 11:00-13:00hrs, room DZ 005, open to all
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Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in...?": The Radical Enlightment

  • June 11, 2014, 13:00-14:30 hrs, room D 119, open to all
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Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in...?":
Structure, System, History

  • April 23, 2014, 13:00-14:30 hrs., room D 119, open to all
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Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in…?": Joanna Plaza Pinto’s data

  • March 26, 2014, 13:00-14:30 hrs., room D 152, open to all
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Massimiliano Spotti over 'De superdiverse stad'

  • TiU-Hartslagcafé 20-02-2014
  • Read more (in Dutch)

Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in….?": Michel Foucault's 'abnormal'

  • January 10, 2014, 11:00-12:30 hrs., room D 119, open to all
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InCoLaS meeting, December 16-17, 2013

  • Monday December 16: Business meeting
  • Tuesday December 17: Presentations

Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in... ?": Pierre Bourdieu's methodological ambition?

Babylon Teach-in "Who's interested in... ?": E.P. Thompson's "The Poverty of Theory"

Workshop Contemporary Authenticities: Towards Complexity

  • October 31 – November 1, 2013
  • Click here for the workshop program.

Jan Blommaert keynote speaker at AILA World Congress 2014 in Brisbane, Australia


It is with deep sadness that we take note of the passing away of a wonderful friend and superb colleague, Jens Normann Jørgensen. Jens died on May 29, 2013, after a year long battle with cancer.

Jens Normann Jørgensen was an outstanding sociolinguist and educational linguist, whose pioneering work on bilingualism and bilingual education in Denmark produced several landmark publications, and led to innovative work with far broader relevance, on new forms of sociolinguistic hybridity captured under the term 'polylanguaging'. Jens' work was marked by a deep and genuine commitment to social justice, equality and integrity. He was a pioneer of the study of language and superdiversity, a member of INCOLAS and of the Max Planck Sociolinguistic Diversity Working Group. In Kopenhagen, he led a team of exceptionally committed and talented young scholars, who will continue elaborating the research agenda he set.

Jens will be missed as a scholar, a pedagogue, and a tremendously generous, optimistic and honest friend. Our thoughts are with Jens' family, close colleagues and friends.

Conference “Language and Superdiversity: Explorations and Interrogations”, Jyvaskyla (Finland)

  • June 5-7, 2013

This conference, the first one on the topic of language and superdiversity and organized by INCOLAS, drew approaximately 300 scholars from all continents into three days of intense and enthusiastic exchange and debate. Plenary speakers were David Parkin, Christopher Stroud, Sirpa Leppanen and Michael Silverstein. A concluding plenary round table involved Birgitta Busch, Jan Blommaert, Rob Moore, Karel Arnaut, Sabina Vasker and Ben Rampton

Workshop Tilburg meets Jyväskylä


Picture taken at the Authenticity Workshop

  • June 2012, Tilburg University

Jan Blommaert: Vlaanderen Vlaams: een onrechtvaardige samenleving