The UAB to award Monica Heller an honorary doctorate – Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona – UAB Barcelona
The UAB will award Canadian anthropologist Monica Heller, lecturer at the University of Toronto, an honorary doctorate after being proposed for the award by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities. According to the UAB Department of English and German Studies, she is one of “today’s most renowned academic figures” in the areas of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. The decision to award this honorary doctorate was recently passed by the UAB Governing Council and the awards ceremony will be held soon.
Her research has contributed to demonstrating the fundamental role of language in a wide range of social processes such as inequality and social inclusion and exclusion, in relation to the neoliberal economic system, nationalism and new forms of colonialism, or the forms and values of plurilingualism stemming from mobility and migration. Heller demostrates that language, apart from representing the identity of a group, is a resource with material exchange value in an economy of services, in which communication has become a new working tool and the product of work itself, as is the case of call centres.
To understand bilingualism beyond it representing identity, she examined the economic value of language as a form of human capital in workplaces of not only Canada, but also in Catalonia, Finland and Switzerland. Another of her outstanding works focuses on the sociolinguistic situation of Francophones in Canada through the study of French evaluations within schools, associations and workplaces in Quebec.
Editor of the Journal of Sociolinguistics
Heller, who received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, is lecturer and researcher at the Department of Sociology of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the Centre de Recherches en Éducation Franco-ontarienne and the Department of Anthropology of the University of Toronto. She has published several monographs and research papers, and was editor of one of the most influential sociolinguistic journals, the Journal of Sociolinguistics.
Moreover, throughout her academic career, Heller conducted several stays at higher education and research institutions in Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Finland and France. In 1999, she spent a stay at the UAB Department of Catalan and later worked in collaboration with the Department of English and German for more than 20 years, particularly with the CIEN group, under the framework of several research projects led by Melissa Moyer, Chair Professor in Sociolinguistics.
Heller has been president of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. One of her outstanding achievements is her commitment to bringing women, young researchers and academics from city outskirts, particularly from Latin America, into the international academic scene. She collaborates with several institutions and communication media such as The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Among the many awards she has received are the Konrad Adenauer Research Award, from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, and the research award from the Centre de Recherche en Civilisation Canadienne-Française of the University of Ottawa, Canada. She has also been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Brittany, France, and the University of Bern, Switzerland.