Subalternity and the Smartphone- NeMLA 2023

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2023
contact email: 

Over 83% of the current global population is estimated to have a smartphone today, and the number is rising rapidly. A lion's share of these phones are used and produced in the Global South. Small, portable, and relatively cheap, the software and hardware of the phones are altering the manner in which individuals in the Global South communicate, and even the languages in which they communicate. An instrument vital to teaching and communication, the production of this tool is nevertheless tied to e-waste generation, child labor in the mining and assembly processes, and numerous other unsustainable and exploitative processes. This session welcomes papers that explore smartphone usage by the Global South and other communities who are excluded/de-legitimized/oppressed by an imperial force, broadly defined. Drawing on the works of Antonio Gramsci and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, the panel hopes to examine the preconceptions and prejudices regarding smartphone usage by post-colonial and currently colonized communities. It hopes to examine the ways in which language and behavior are altered by the smartphone and vice-versa, and the ways in which smartphones are used to push back against colonial narratives. 

Paper topics may include but are not limited to:

1. Language Learning Applications

2. Subalternity and Software Development

3. Can the Subaltern Snapchat?

4. Smartphones and the Subaltern Classroom

5. Techno-Imperialism and TikTok

6. Game Development and the Global South


Submit abstracts online at

Please direct any questions to:

Anwesha Chattopadhyay, University of Florida