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WIU's Davis Releases New Book on Multilingual Education

January 23, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University Associate Professor of Anthropology Christina P. Davis released her new book, "The Struggle for a Multilingual Future: Youth and Education in Sri Lanka," this week through the Oxford University Press.

Davis's book is part of a series called "Oxford Studies in the Anthropology of Language," which is devoted to works focusing on linguistic practices as forms of social action. At WIU, Davis teaches a linguistic anthropology course (Anthropology 380: Language and Culture), which is a required course for the anthropology major.

At Western, Davis's research and teaching interests concern intersections between multilingual language and media practices, multilingual education and conflict in Sri Lanka and South India. "The Struggle for a Multilingual Future" is based on her ethnographic fieldwork in Kandy, Sri Lanka during the last phase of the civil war and afterward(2007–2008; ;2011). The book examines the tensions between ethnic conflict and multilingual education policy in the linguistic and social practices of Sri Lankan minority youth.

Davis will return to Sri Lanka this summer on a stipend to support her research on the government's implementation of its recent trilingual policies. She will look at how spoken Tamil is being restandardized for teaching Tamil-as-a-second-language to Sinhala state employees. Davis's other recent work appears in Signs and Society (forthcoming 2/2020), the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Language & Communication and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.

For more information on the WIU Department of Sociology and Anthropology, visit

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