Diana Lemberg

Junior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October 2021 - June 2022
Lingnan University in Hong Kong, China
Project Title: 
"The Weapon of Words": Language Training in U.S. Foreign Relations, 1941-1991
Project Abstract: 

This interdisciplinary project provides the first archival account of how language training shaped and was shaped by U.S. international engagements from World War II through the end of the Cold War. Scholars of U.S. international history have infrequently addressed language-related issues. This is a surprising lacuna given the powerful players--the federal government; major foundations; prestigious American universities--that became invested in the creation and dissemination of linguistic expertise in the mid-twentieth century. The project tracks two of the defining language phenomena of the “American century”: the rise of global English, and Washington’s growing involvement in language-training initiatives both at home and abroad. By analyzing the place of language training and applied linguistics in U.S. foreign relations, the project will speak to scholars of U.S. international history, decolonization and development, and the history of the social sciences, particularly linguistics.