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José Del Valle
Phone: (212) 817-8410
Research Interests: The politics of language representation in Spain, Latin America, and the USA. The interface between linguistic and intellectual history.
José del Valle is Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at CUNY's Graduate Center. He is affiliated with the Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages and with the Ph.D. Program in Linguistics. He was HLBLL's Executive Officer (Chair) between 2011-2017. He received his "Licenciatura" in 1988 from the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain; his M.A. in 1990 from the University at Buffalo (SUNY); and his Ph.D. in 1994 from Georgetown University. He taught at Miami University (Ohio) and Fordham University (Bronx) before he joined CUNY in 2002. He has also held visiting positions at the University of Virginia and Princeton University, and taught short seminars at the Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela), U. Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), U. de Brasilia (Brazil), U. a Coruña (Spain), de la República (Uruguay), Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (México) and U. de Buenos Aires (Argentina).

As a result of his doctoral work, which dealt with issues of Spanish socio-historical linguistics and language change theory, he published "El trueque s/x en español antiguo. Aproximaciones teóricas" (Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1996). Later his research turned to linguistic ideologies and the politics of language. His publications include articles in journals such as Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Debats, Hispanic Review, Historiographia Linguistica, Language and Communication, Language Policy, International Journal of Multilingual Research, PMLA and Quimera, and contributions to several edited volumes. He has also published The Battle Over Spanish Between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals (co-edited with Luis Gabriel-Stheeman; Routledge, 2002), which studies the post-colonial linguistic construction of national and pan-Hispanic identities in Spain and Latin America. An expanded Spanish edition of this book, entitled La batalla del idioma: la intelectualidad hispánica ante la lengua, was published in 2004 by Vervuert / Iberoamericana. In 2007, he published "La lengua ¿patria común? Ideas e ideologías del español" (Vervuert / Iberamericana, 2007), which deals with Spain's contemporary language policies and geopolitical interests in Latin America.

He has guest-edited a special issue of Spanish in Context entitled "Ideologías linguisticas y el español en contexto histórico" (with Elvira Narvaja de Arnoux) (2010,7/1) and a special issue of Sociolinguistic Studies (2011, 5/3) entitled "Language Beyond the Nation: A Comparative Approach to Policies and Discourses" (2011). He has most recently edited "A Political History of Spanish: The Making of a Language" (Cambridge University Press, 2013.)

In 2010 he received the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
  • Forthcoming and recent articles (some available)
"The politics of normativity and globalization: Which Spanish in the classroom?" forthcoming in Modern Language Journal 98 (1) (2014).

"El lugar de las lenguas en LENGUAS MODERNAS: Hacia una nueva cartografía de la linguística hispánica en EEUU." Forthcoming in: Klaus Zimmerman (ed.), Nuevas direcciones en la linguística hispánica. [Serie "Nuevos Hispanismos"]. Frankfurt / Madrid: Vervuert / Iberoamericana (2014).

"Language, politics and history: an introductory essay" En: José del Valle (ed.), A Political History of Spanish: The Making of a Language. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press. Pp. 3-20. (2013)

This link provides access to Prelims and Chapter 1 only.  For full book, visit Cambridge University Press: 

“Academias y panhispanismo: notas sobre la perenne reinvención de las academias y su historia.” In Ana Luengo y Sabine Schlieckers (eds.), La reinvención de Latinoamérica: Enfoques interdisciplinarios desde las dos orillas. Peter Lang, 2012. Pp. 185-200. 

“La disputada autoridad de las academias: debate lingüístico-ideológico en torno a la Ortografía de 2010.” RILI – Revista Internacional de Lingüística Iberoamericana 10, 1/19, 2012. Pp. 29-53. Co-authored with Laura Villa.  

“Política del lenguaje y geopolítica: España, la RAE y la población latina de Estados Unidos.” In Silvia Senz y Montse Alberte (eds.), El dardo en la Academia. Barcelona: Melusina. 2011. Pp. 551-590.

"Transnational Language: Beyond Nation and Empire?" In: José del Valle (ed.), LANGUAGE BEYOND THE NATION: A COMPARATIVE APPROACH TO POLICIES AND DISCOURSES. Special Issue of SOCIOLINGUISTIC STUDIES 5 (3), 2011. Pp. 387-397.

“La lengua, los bicentenarios y la estrategia del acompañamiento.” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana Fall 2010 special issue entitled “Bicentenarios en América Latina: relecturas, reescrituras,” Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante and Álvaro Fernández-Bravo (eds.). Pp. 127-148. 

“La construcción del hispanismo trasatlántico: lecciones de una polémica mexicana sobre el idioma.” In Julio Ortega (ed.), Nuevos hispanismos interdisciplinarios y trasatlánticos. Madrid / Frankfurt: Iberoamericana / Vervuert. 2010. Pp. 227-238. 

“Las representaciones ideológicas del lenguaje: discurso glotopolítico y panhispanismo.” In José del Valle y Elvira Narvaja de Arnoux (eds.), Special Issue of Spanish in Context (2010) 7(1): 1-24. Co-authored with Elvira Narvaja de Arnoux.
“Total Spanish: the politics of a Pan-Hispanic grammar.” PMLA (2009) 124 (3): 880-886.
  • Other interventions (opinion pieces and polemics)

Posición en relación con el manifiesto "Por una soberanía idiomática" (2013).

Polémica Adrados, Comajoan y Del Valle en EL PAIS (2006) sobre racionalidad y política linguística. 

"Un ataque obsceno de la RAE a" (2011)

"Lengua y cambalache" (2001).  Nota sobre el II Congreso Internacional de la lengua Española:

  •   Courses taught recently
Linguistic ideologies  
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”  
Questions of authority in the production and reception of linguistic representations are central to the interdisciplinary field known as linguistic ideologies. In this seminar, we will examine this category’s development in linguistic historiograhy (e.g. Joseph & Taylor’s 1990 Ideologies of language), the sociology of language (Cameron’s 1995 Verbal Hygiene), and linguistic anthropology (e.g. Schieffelin, Woolard & Kroskrity’s 1998 Linguistic Ideologies: Practice and Theory or Gal & Woolard’s 2001 Languages and Publics: The Making of Authority), and its implementation as an analytical tool in numerous case studies in which construals of language in cultural, political, and social context are identified as preferred objects of analysis.

Language and citizenship in national and transnational contexts 
In this seminar, we examine the politics of language representation in the Spanish-speaking world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the various nation-building processes undertaken by Spain’s former colonies, in Spain’s own efforts to develop as a homogeneous modern nation, and in the tensions generated by divergent conceptualizations of a transatlantic Spanish-speaking community, we often find language taking center stage either as a tool or as an object of political action. We will review the nature and implications of policies that aimed at the construction of culturally and linguistically homogeneous communities – both national and transnational – as well as metalinguistic discourses in which questions of citizenship and cultural autonomy – again, in national and transnational dimensions – were being worked out. We will analyze Andrés Bello’s Gramática castellana, the orthographic controversies in Chile, Spain’s officialization of the Royal Spanish Academy’s orthography, the creation of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, the polemic between Juan Valera and Rufino José Cuervo over the fragmentation of Spanish and the unity of the cultural field, the debates surrounding “el idioma nacional de los argentinos” and the constitution of a national literature, and more recent policies aimed at affirming a pan-Hispanic community. The theoretical backdrop will be provided by discussions of classical (Haugen, Fishman) and critical (Cameron, Milroy) theories of language standardization, of theories of nationalism (Anderson, Hobsbawm), of linguistic ideologies (Joseph/Taylor, Schieffelin/Woolard/Kroskrity, Kroskrity), and of treatments of language, citizenship and modern subjectivity in Latin America (Julio Ramos, González Stephan, Narvaja de Arnoux).
Spanish as historical problem 
“When you read a work of history, always listen out for the buzzing. If you can detect none, either you are tone deaf or your historian is a dull dog” (Edward H. Carr) 
Este curso propone una reflexión sobre las distintas aproximaciones a la historia externa e interna del español. Entre ellas se encuentran la “Gramática Histórica del Español”, la “Historia de la Lengua Española”, la “Historia Social del Español” y la “Historia Política del Español”, que, aunque se ocupan de objetos lingüísticos sólo parcialmente coincidentes, los observan sin embargo a través de una misma ventana cronológica que va desde los tiempos en que el latín fue introducido en la Península Ibérica hasta el momento actual, cuando aún la unidad y el significado simbólico del español en el mundo son temas de discusión dentro y fuera de los estudios del lenguaje. Esta asignatura se plantea no sólo reproducir la descripción de la historia de la lengua como un proceso de evolución lineal de unidades y sistemas fónicos, morfológicos y sintácticos; no se plantea hacer un recorrido por los hitos culturales y políticos que marcan la cristalización de la lengua; ni se propone tampoco la identificación de fenómenos sociolingüísticos – tales como la variación, el bilingüismo, la diglosia o la estandarización – que inciden sobre la evolución del idioma. La perspectiva aquí adoptada invita a aproximarse críticamente a las disciplinas mismas que configuran como objetos de estudio la emergencia histórica del español como “lengua”, su evolución orgánica y las circunstancias de su propagación por la Península Ibérica y por el continente americano.