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Press release
Culture.  Barcelona,  14/06/2016

The American anthropologist Kathryn Woolard to be awarded the 26th Ramon Llull International Prize

The panel of the Ramon Llull International Prize has decided to award this distinction to the American anthropologist Kathryn Woolard for “making a notable contribution to disseminating the situation of Catalan among the academic community, especially in the United States”. Woolard has devoted much of her research and educational activity to the sociolinguistic situation in Catalonia. She has analysed above all the ties between language, identity and linguistic attitudes in Barcelona and has studied the evolution of these ties in recent decades, since the end of the Franco dictatorship.

Kathryn Woolard

The prize, worth €8,000, is awarded jointly every year by the Ramon Llull Foundation and the Catalan Culture Congress Foundation. This recognition is aimed at acknowledging the entire output of an individual from outside Catalan-speaking areas, written in any language, which has resulted in furthering knowledge of the historical and cultural situation in Catalonia, or the theoretical and practical output of a person from any country that has signified an important contribution to the knowledge, recognition, promotion and defence of one or more stateless cultures and nations.

This year, the panel of experts was made up of Marta Rovira, Miquel Strubell and Josep Massot, for the Catalan Culture Congress Foundation; and Vicenç Villatoro, Joaquim Torres, Manuel Pérez-Saldanya and Teresa Cabré for the Ramon Llull Foundation.

In the most recent editions the winners were Philip D. Rasico (2015), Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera (2014), Max Wheeler (2013), Georg Kremnitz (2012), Malika Ahmed (2010), Denise Boyer (2009), Michael van Walt van Praag (2008), Alan Yates (2007), Tilbert Stegmann (2006), Paul Preston (2005) and Giuspeppe Tavani (2004).


Kathryn Woolard

Born in Wellsville in 1950, Kathryn Woolard is professor of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. She has also been professor at the universities of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin-Madison, and has been visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and a visiting researcher in the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s Department of Catalan Philology. She is associate editor of the journal American Anthropologist and, previously, of Language in Society. She is currently also on the editorial board of the Annual Review of Anthropology.

She has been president of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology and a member of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies. In 2013 she was elected to be a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which represents a culmination of her academic career. This institution, founded in 1780, is one of the most prestigious in America, with over 250 Nobel Prize-winners and such notable figures as Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill among its former members.

Kathryn Woolard has worked chiefly in the field of linguistic anthropology, a discipline closely linked to sociolinguistics. She has studied, among other things, linguistic ideologies, Spanish-English linguistic policy in the USA, the relationships between language and ideology in Spain from the beginnings of the Early Modern Period and above all the sociolinguistic situation in Catalonia, where she has made several research visits.

She has analysed above all the ties between language, identity and linguistic attitudes in Barcelona and has studied the changes in these ties over recent decades, since the end of the Franco dictatorship. Her perspective as someone who looks in from the outside but who is very interested in what is happening here has thrown up some very interesting analyses of certain issues, such as the changes in bilingual conversations in Barcelona in the 1980s, in the period when the administrative structures of Catalonia were being built. On this subject, especially important is the study Identity and Language Contact in Barcelona, published by Edicions de la Magrana in 1992, as are the books Double Talk; Bilingualism and the Politics of Ethnicity in Catalonia (Stanford, 1989/2014) and Singular and Plural: Ideologies of Linguistic Authority in 21st Century Catalonia (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Some of her most significant articles are Catalan in the 21st Century: Romantic Publics and Cosmopolitan Communities, compiled in the collection Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, and Changes in Assessments and Linguistic Attitudes in Barcelona (1980-1987), published in the compilation Catalan Sociolinguistic Studies. In the latter, she showed how at the end of the 1970s very few Catalan speakers in Barcelona would continue speaking in Catalan when talking to a Castilian speaker, whereas by the end of the 1980s there had appeared an appreciable minority who did so.

She is also the co-author of the books Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory (Oxford, 1998) and Language and Publics: The Making of Authority (St. Jerome, 2001).

Awarded by the Ramon Llull Foundation and the Catalan Culture Congress Foundation

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The Institut Ramon Llull is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.
Generalitat de Catalunya Govern de les Illes Balears Ajuntament de Barcelona
The IRL forms part of the Fundació Ramon Llull, which was established by the Government of Andorra, the Ramon Llull Institute, General Council of the Eastern Pyrenees, the city of Alghero, Balearic Islands Towns and Entities Network and the group of Valencian Cities, and has its central offices in Andorra.
Fundació Ramon Llull