Philosophizing in Tongues: Cultivating Bilingualism, Biculturalism, and Biliteracy in an Introduction to Latin American Philosophy Course

Alexander V. Stehn, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Abstract

This article describes my ongoing attempts to more successfully engage the full linguistic repertoires and cultural identities of undergraduate students at a “Hispanic Serving Institution” (HSI) in South Texas by teaching a bilingual Introduction to Latin American Philosophy course in the “Language, Philosophy, and Culture” area of Texas’ General Education Core Curriculum. By uncovering the diverse identities, worldviews, and languages of those who were historically excluded from the Eurocentric discipline of philosophy through the conquest and colonization of the Americas, Latin American philosophers offer us new ways of thinking and living by challenging Anglocentric language, philosophy, and culture. As part of the new B3 (Bilingual, Bicultural, and Biliterate) vision of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the course is designed to draw upon the richly varied bilingualisms and biliteracies of predominantly Latinx students in order to help them honor, theorize, and cultivate their bicultural identities by “philosophizing in tongues” rather than being forced to assimilate to the monolingual ideology that prevails across both mainstream Anglophone philosophy and the system of higher education in the United States of America.