The Language, Society, and Culture Faculty Interest Group was created as a forum for sharing research interests within the domains of linguistics and sociolinguistics. The group emerged from a group based at BMCC, and now consists of members across CUNY. The FIG’s primary function is to plan a biennial one-day conference focusing on language/linguistic research in the context of society and culture.
In the Fall of 2010, the linguistics committee, led by the two co-chairs, Maureen Matarese and Mary Sepp, discussed the possibility of organizing an interdepartmental, one-day conference for BMCC faculty and students on the topic of language and culture. In part to garner interest in language across disciplines, but also to establish a mechanism for organizing the conference, the Language, Society, and Culture FIG (Faculty Interest Group) was founded under the umbrella of BMCC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CETLS).
In the spirit of CETLS, the conference was initially envisioned as an opportunity to bring together scholars across the BMCC community to present research on language and culture in an interdisciplinary forum. Another goal was to get students involved in scholarly research and to provide them with an opportunity to share their work through student poster sessions.
With the support of CETLS and Academic Affairs, the first LSC Conference took place on May 26, 2011 at BMCC. The theme was Language Across Disciplines and featured Kate Menken of Queens College as the plenary speaker. The event was well-attended and feedback from attendees/participants, both faculty and students, was very positive.
Once planning for the 2011 conference had started, we realized that this event could draw interest from other CUNY colleges, specifically the Community Colleges. Collaborating with our sister colleges would also enrich the content of the conference going forward. So we consulted with linguists at other campuses and decided we would rotate the conference venue among CUNY’s Community Colleges.
In March 2014, the conference was hosted by Bronx Community College. Professor Andrea Parmegiani of BCC chaired the planning committee and executed a wonderful program on the theme Storytelling and Academic Discourse.
The 2016 conference went back to BMCC, led this time by Professors Shoba Bandi-Rao and Oksana Vorobel. The theme of the conference was Language and Politics: Political Discourse.
LaGuardia CC, co-chaired by Professors Rebekah Johnson and Leigh Garrison-Fletcher, hosted the conference in May 2018. The theme of the conference was Language and Social Justice: Language for Change. John Collins, the Program Director for the Deaf Studies Program at LaGuardia Community College was the plenary speaker.
Originally planned for 2020 on the campus of Kingsborough Community College, LSC-5 was rescheduled as a virtual conference in May 2021, due to disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.