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Junior Fellows

Dr. Giulia Pelillo-Hestermeyer

Institute of Romance Studies, Heidelberg University


Project: "Language Diversity in the European Public Sphere(s): a Space under Construction"

The first principle of the 2005 European Charter of Plurilingualism reads: “Plurilingualism is inseparable from the affirmation of a political Europe”, thus declaring language diversity as fundamental for the European identity. After a century-long tradition - realistic or not - of a citizen speaking a national language within the national cultural space, the European language policy constitutes a cultural revolution, especially if considering its implications for the educational system, the law, science, international relationships, and the media system. This recent change provokes conflicts in the European public sphere(s): which languages can be considered “European”? Does the official use of foreign languages - English but also Arabic or Chinese - not threaten the national or local culture?
The project analyzes the debate about European language policy in the French, German, Italian and Spanish public spheres in its top-down (institutional representations) and its bottom-up dimension (citizens’ reactions through comments and tweets). It considers the conflicts between old and new identity patterns from a national as well as transnational perspective, focusing on educational, economic and media issues. The outcome will show the progress on the road towards the construction of a European culture of diversity within a global context.

About Giulia Pelillo-Hestermeyer:

Giulia Pelillo-Hestermeyer is a lecturer for media and cultural studies at the department for romance philology of the University of Heidelberg. She holds an M.A. in modern philology (University Roma Tre, Rome) and a Ph.D. in romance philology (University of Heidelberg). In the past, she was a language assistant for Italian and lecturer for romance linguistics at the department for romance philology at the University of Heidelberg. Her research and teaching cover the fields of socio- and pragmalinguistics, media and cultural studies, focusing on interdisciplinary methods of communication analysis. In this context she co-founded the Heidelberg Transdisciplinary Network for Media Analysis. She has published several articles on media communication, biography, popular culture, contemporary language development and a book on “The Radio Interview between Reality and Spectacularization”. She has participated in several European projects on media pedagogy and interculturality, related to her activities in radio-journalism at a community radio.

For a detailed profile click here.