Some Responses



Alexander Wendt
Alexander Wendt is considered one of the world's foremost theorists of International Relations, and America's top theorist of the same. He is a Professor at Ohio State University (OSU).
Your observations about the role of language in the constitution of ethnic conflict and terrorism are very interesting, and indeed would I think make for a great dissertation. [...] I think ... advice to take the GRE is really worth thinking about -- though I would use it to apply to PhD programs well beyond [redacted], including OSU perhaps?

[M]y views have actually changed a fair bit since my book, in the direction of a "quantum social science" which has led me to criticize some of my earlier work in an "auto-critique" a couple years back. I'm now wrapping up a further paper developing these ideas, and they have in fact led me to appreciate the centrality of language in human affairs much more than I had previously (so I would now agree with you that culture is a subset of the realm of language).

Anyway, if you decide to pursue the PhD let me know and if you'd like I'd be happy to talk about it.


Nicholas Ostler
Mr. Ostler is the author of Empires of the Word and Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin . He is the founder and director of the Foundation for Endangered Languages .
Well, that IS interesting. I hope you are planning to write it all up in a book! (Or perhaps as a series of articles, depending on how you are fixed academically, I suppose.)
I thank Mr. Ostler, very much, especially for his numerous, encouraging e-mails. He also doesn't quite credit me for the Protestant Reformation discovery (I published it online before he published it in a book) but definitely credits me for putting it in the larger context.
Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is "perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet" (New York Times Book Review) and undoubtedly the foremost critic of U.S. foreign policy alive. Professionally he teaches linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
I think your final conclusion is well-taken, and in part history conforms to what you describe. But only in part. Take the horrendous Rwanda slaughter in 1994, which comes as close to genocide as anything since World War II. But Hutu and Tutsi were culturally very much alike, and spoke the same language. There are may sources of conflict, regrettably, and no simple formula for overcoming them.
The final conclusion I wrote to which he refers was in the e-mail I sent him, "The above suggests to me that linguistic borders should be the prime consideration for ameliorating future conflicts, that bilingualism ought to be encouraged, and that the great written works of all language groups should be translated widely." After I wrote him I rewrote my article on Rwanda to show that, in fact, it was a linguistic issue.

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