Texts in the City: Power and Discourse

French Institute Seminars in Humanities (FISH)
19 March 2014

15:00 – IFAS Conference Room, 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein


William Kelleher
Professeur certifié. Académie d’Aix-Marseille

Based on my Master’s thesis, this seminar is an exploration of the place, and space, of two neighbourhoods: the Marché du Soleil neighbourhood in Marseille, France, and the Bosman neighbourhood in Pretoria, South Africa. I wish to understand how the formal and informal texts that are visible in the street (the linguistic landscape, or LL) are revelatory of subjective experience, local and non-local discourses, as also broader social processes. This is to say that studying the production, reception and placement of these texts is a way of exploring not only power and access as these apply in the space of the street, but also migration, education and literacy, cultural belonging and empowerment.


William Kelleher is a teacher on long leave from the Académie d’Aix-Marseille, France, and currently working as an English teacher in a community school in east Johannesburg. His research focuses on the city and on the role of texts visible in the street in constructing place and understanding identity.