Why Non-European Languages Matter to European Humanities: Area Studies and Postcolonial Philology

Published: 2021
Blog for Transregional Research


European humanities facilitate a plurality of knowledge with this plurality of languages – yet often remain within the limitations of the nation states and their official languages. While Trabant refers to the official languages of the European Union, such as Swedish, Maltese or Hungarian, he rarely mentions the importance of migrant languages, such as Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish or Chinese. In order to overcome the Eurocentricity of the humanities in Europe, area studies concerned with non-Western regions turn the rest of the world (or what has often ignorantly been referred to as the rest of world) into centers of our world; they “provincialize Europe,” as the postcolonial historian Dipesh Chakrabarty has described it.