Provost's Office

Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Spring 2024
Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Language as a Political Tool: Spain and the U.S. Compared

Vicente Lledó-Guillem

presented by
Vicente Lledó-Guillem, PhD
Full Professor of Spanish
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts
Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Wednesday, March 27, 2024
1-2:15 p.m.
Guthart Cultural Center Theater, First Floor, Axinn Library

Spanish is, after Mandarin, the second language in the world with regards to the number of native speakers. Moreover, Spanish is the official language of 20 countries and has an important presence in other nation states where it is not official, such as, for example, the United States. Spanish is the only official language in all the regions of Spain, although other languages such as Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Occitan are co-official with Spanish in their respective areas inside Spain. This lecture focuses on the ideological and political tensions that arose after the municipal elections that took place in the Valencian Region of Spain on May 28, 2023. While in the Valencian Region there are two official languages: Spanish and Catalan, the lecture argues that the outcome of these elections with a coalition government between the Spanish conservative party, PP, and the far-right group Vox, entails the support of Spanish monolingualism, i.e., the gradual elimination of the Catalan language in the Region of Valencia. Professor Lledó-Guillem claims that three ideological and political arguments supporting Spanish as the only legitimate language in Spain have also been used to promote English as the only acceptable language in the United States: first, the supposed organic link between language and nation (cultural nationalism); second, the continuity of language throughout history; and, finally, the idea that some languages are by nature more global than others (sociolinguistic naturalism). The comparison is pertinent as the U.S. is, after Mexico, the second country in the world regarding the number of Spanish speakers.

Dr. Vicente Lledó-Guillem is Full Professor of Spanish at Hofstra University. His main areas of research are the history of Spanish and Catalan languages and literatures from a political, ideological, and cultural point of view. Professor Lledó-Guillem pays particular attention to how literature and language relate to identity, nation, and power in the past and in the present, especially in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Between November 2020 and January 2021, Professor Lledó-Guillem was awarded the Marià Villangómez Visiting Professorship for Catalan Studies at Leipzig University (Universität Leipzig) (Germany) in collaboration with the Institut Ramon Llull, which supports the use and knowledge of the Catalan language abroad.

Apart from publishing more than 30 journal articles and book chapters in prestigious academic journals and academic presses, Professor Lledó-Guillem is the author of four book monographs in three languages (English, Spanish, and Catalan): Literatura o imperio: La construcción de las lenguas castellana y catalana en la España renacentista (Juan de la Cuesta, 2008); The Making of Catalan Linguistic Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Times (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); La formación de la identidad lingüística catalana (siglos XIII-XVII) (Marcial Pons, 2019), and Ideologies lingüístiques a la Comunitat Valenciana. Un estudi introductori [Language Ideologies in the Valencian Region: An Introductory Study] (Universitat de València, 2023). This last book monograph, recently published in Catalan, constitutes the basis of Professor Lledó-Guillem’s lecture.

About the Distinguished Faculty Lecture

In 1981, the University inaugurated the annual Hofstra University Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series. The lecture is typically scheduled midsemester during Common Hour.

All full-time Hofstra faculty members who have not received the award in the four years prior to their application are eligible to apply. Note that while a lecture is the standard format, fine arts faculty may opt to have a performance or exhibit followed by a discussion. The lecture is the fruit of original thought and research on a topic both representative of the faculty member's specialization and likely to attract and hold the interest of a wide, diverse audience. It is expected that this lecture will not have previously been delivered to the Hofstra community.

Calls for submission are sent out approximately six months prior to each lecture with specific application guidelines. We encourage your participation.

Past Lecturers

Academic Year Lecturer(s)
1981-1982 Mary Anne Raywid
1981-1982 Mary Anne Raywid
1982-1983 Frederick M. Keener
1983-1984 John DeWitt Gregory
1984-1985 Tadeusz K. Krauze
1985-1986 William F. Levantrosser
1986-1987 Charles F. Levinthal
1987-1988 W. Thomas MacCary
1988-1989 Dorothy Cohen
1989-1990 John E. Ullmann
1990-1991 Ignacio L. Götz
1992-1993 Eric M. Freedman
1993-1994 George D. Jackson
1994-1995 Lesley H. Browder, Jr.
1995-1996 Gary W. Grimes
1996-1997 Laurie Fendrich
1997-1998 Meena Bose
1998-1999 Stanislao G. Pugliese
1999-2000 Laura C. Otis
Fall 2000 Charles Merguerian
Spring 2001 Jacques D. Berlinerblau
Fall 2001 Craig M. Rustici
Spring 2002 Ronald H. Silverman
Fall 2002 John L. Bryant
Spring 2003 Richard J. Puerzer
Fall 2003 Alan J. Singer
Spring 2004 Joanna Grossman
Fall 2004 Benita Sampedro
Spring 2005 John Teehan
Fall 2005 J. Herbie DiFonzo
Spring 2006 Alafair Burke
Fall 2006 I. Bennett Capers
Spring 2007 Monroe H. Freedman
Fall 2007 Julie E. Byrne
Fall 2008 David Green
Spring 2009 Meena Bose
Fall 2009 Barbara Stark
Spring 2010 Harold Hastings
Fall 2010 Lisa M. Dresner
Fall 2011 Elizabeth Glazer
Spring 2012 Leslie Feldman
Fall 2012 Vimala Pasupathi
Spring 2013 Robert Brinkmann
Fall 2013 Robert Leonard
Spring 2014 Sina Rabbany
Fall 2014 J. Herbie DiFonzo
Spring 2015 No Lecture Held
Fall 2015 Alafair Burke
Spring 2016 John L. Bryant, Adam G. Sills, Vern R. Walker
Fall 2016 David Henderson
Spring 2017 Saryn R. Goldberg, Jennifer A. Gundlach, Amy M. Masnick, Jennifer A. Rich, Jessica R. Santangelo
Fall 2017 Eric M. Freedman
Spring 2018 Ethna Dempsey Lay
Fall 2018 E. Christa Farmer, Elisabeth J. Ploran, Mary Anne Trasciatti
Spring 2019 Linda A. Longmire
Fall 2019 Shawn Thelen, Boonghee Yoo
Spring 2020 Andrea S. Libresco (postponed; to be presented in spring 2021)
Fall 2021 Simon R. Doubleday
Spring 2022 Edward M. Segal
Fall 2022 Javier A. Izquierdo
Spring 2023 Gina Pontrelli, Christine Zammit
Fall 2023 Ibraheem Karaye