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Open World Research Initiative (OWRI)

Transnational Strand

The Transnational Strand of the Cross-Language Dynamics programme is coordinated from Durham University and is co-led by Professors Andy Byford (MLAC) and Anoush Ehteshami (SGIA). It focuses on the dynamics of political, social and cultural interaction across a wide variety of examples of communities that share a single language, but are dispersed across multiple states and cultures.

Durham’s core research team includes Dr Qing Cao, Dr Abir Hamdar, Dr Francisco-J. Hernández Adrián, Dr Polina Kliuchnikova and Dr Dušan Radunović from MLAC, and Dr Amjed Rasheed and Miss Juline Beaujouan from SGIA. The team is supported administratively by Mrs Lucy Cawson (MLAC) and Mrs Lorraine Holmes (SGIA).

Other Durham-based contributors to our programme of research events and impact activities include: Dr Sam Bootle, Dr Marcela Cazzoli, Dr Zoë Roth, Dr Marc Schachter and Dr Sergey Tyulenev (all from MLAC).

Core non-academic partners with whom Durham is working particularly closely are Chatham House, Tyneside Cinema and Durham County Council.

Satellite institutions directly associated with the Transnational Strand and collaborating with Durham researchers are the Universities of Leeds (Professor Paul Cooke of the Centre for World Cinemas & Digital Cultures), Edinburgh (Professor Lara Ryazanova-Clarke of the Princess Dashkova Centre) and Oxford (Professors Julie Curtis and Philip Bullock).



The Transnational Strand concentrates especially, but by no means exclusively, on Russian-, Arabic-, Chinese-, and Spanish-speaking transnational communities. We explore:

(a) the consequences of the fact that, while language remains an unusually stable basis for identity-formation, it is becoming dislocated from sources of political power and cultural legitimacy;

(b) the effects of this on personal identities and networks, collective memories and ideologies, institutional structures and practices;

(c) the impact of the formation of transnational publics rooted in particular languages on contemporary statehood, nationhood, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and cultural practices; and

(d) the effect of evolving forms of mobility and connectivity on the formation of different types of transnational language-based communities.


For further information on the work of the Transnational Strand contact: owri.cldrc@durham.ac.uk