Call for applications - An Interdisciplinary Summer School on Economy and Language


Sunday 15 March 2015, 12h15

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Call for applications - An Interdisciplinary Summer School on Economy and Language

The aim of this Summer School is to bring together PhD students in economics and linguistics who are working on or are interested in any the manifold aspects of the relationship between economy and language in order to continue engaging in a fruitful and overdue dialogue between the two disciplines.


From 10 to August 21, 2015


Place(s) :

University of Chicago Center in Paris
6 rue Thomas Mann
75013 PARIS (France)


Lectures will be taught and discussion sessions will be led alternately by economists and linguists, who have published on economy and language from the point of view of their respective discipline. Lectures will cover a broad range of topics including:

• Language and economic development
• Language in/and materiality
• Language proficiency and its implications for language policies
• Informal economy and language practice
• Language proficiency and immigration
• Language commodification and income-earning
• Economy and language vitality
• Costs and benefits in foreign language learning  
• Use of national micro-data in measuring patterns and trends in language demographics
• Linguistic distances and their use in economics
• Standardization and its discontents


• Professor Barry Chiwick (Economist), George Washington University, Washington, DC
• Professor Paulin Djité (Linguist), retired from the University of Western Sydney, Australia
• Professor Judith Irvine (Linguistic anthropologist), University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
• Professor Salikoko S. Mufwene (Linguist), University of Chicago
• Professor Dorrit Posel (Economist), University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
• Professor Cécile B. Vigouroux (Linguist), Simon Fraser University, Canada
• Professor Schlomo Weber (Economist), Southern Methodist University, Dallas & New Economic School, Moscow


Targeted Participants:
Economics and linguistics PhD students at any stage of their training/research are welcome to apply. The Summer School is open to students working in different subfields of economics (micro and macro) and of linguistics (e.g. applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, ethnography, linguistic anthropology; language endangerment), as well as in related areas (e.g., economic sociology, economic anthropology, political economy).


The Summer School will consist of daily 3-hour lectures in the morning and 3-hour discussion sessions in the afternoon, Monday through Friday). Depending on whether the morning lecture is taught by an economist or a linguist, the discussion will be led by an expert in the other discipline. One-on-one interactions with the instructors will be facilitated for PhD students to discuss particular aspects of the latter’s research interests. One Saturday will be reserved for students to give short presentations on their research projects and benefit from the feedback provided by the participants.


The sponsors of the Summer School will underwrite room and board expenses for all participants, who will be housed at a student residence in Paris. Except for those coming from the economic South (e.g. Africa and India), who will be fully funded by our sponsors, students will pay for their travel to and from Paris.


Interested students should submit an abstract not exceeding 800 words in which they describe their research interests/projects and articulate their particular research questions, as well as how they hope to benefit from the Summer School. They should state clearly whether they are pursuing a degree in economics, linguistics, or a related discipline and what particular theoretical framework they have used so far, if this is applicable. A current CV and a support letter from the applicant’s major professor or adviser should be included in the application, which can be written in either English or French.

Applications should be submitted in a PDF format in one single file (including the abstract, the CV, and the reference letter). 16 students will be selected based on the merits of their applications and the contributions that their participation can make to the success of the Summer School. An effort will also be made to balance the disciplinary backgrounds of the students, in order to foster a productive exchange of ideas across disciplines.


The applications must be submitted electronically by March 15, 2015 to the following website: (with the heading SUMMER SCHOOL). The applicants will be informed by May 15, 2015 about the outcome of their applications.


Language of Instruction:

The language of instruction will be English, although some accommodation will be made to students who are more fluent in French than in English to ask questions or to comment in French. Some competence in English is required in order to benefit from the lectures, the readings, and the discussion sessions.

For further information, prospective applicants can contact Professor Cécile B. Vigouroux: cvigouro  with the heading SUMMER SCHOOL PARIS 2015
The queries can be written in English or French.

Partners :

The Collegium of Lyon, France, in collaboration with the Réseau Français des Instituts d'Etudes Avancées (RFIEA), is sponsoring a two-week interdisciplinary summer school on Economy and Language at the University of Chicago Center in Paris, during August 10-21, 2015. Organized by Professor Salikoko S. Mufwene (University of Chicago) and Professor Cécile B. Vigouroux (Simon Fraser University), this Summer School is one of the outcomes of the productive workshop on Language and Economy hosted by them, at the same location, on June 19-20, 2014. Like the Workshop, the Summer School will bring together economists interested in the role that language plays in economic development and linguists working on economic aspects of language practice, in an effort to bridge both economics and linguistics on their overlapping interests. We learned, among other things, how useful it is to understand how practitioners in the other disciplines address issues that may be negligible to us and/or why they address them the way they do.


Documents to download :

Course description SS 2015_c.pdf (PDF, 373 kB)