National Letters: Languages and scripts as nation-building tools with Marek Nedelka

Date: 2 November 2023
Time: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: The Rose Auditorium 41 Cooper Square (at East 7th Street) New York, USA
Third-party event

An anthology National Letters: Languages and Scripts as Nation-building Tools, travels through the episodes of the past in which letters, languages, and scripts played an important role in creating nation-states and national identities. Through four case studies (Turkey, Israel, Georgia, Ethiopia), the main body of the book explores four languages and nations which were each, against all odds and for various reasons, able to develop and maintain their own writing system throughout their entire history, up to the founding of their nation-state.

Despite the fact that various typographic landscapes exist in Europe, e.g. the distinguished street typography of the Basque country with its distinctively shaped letter “A” with a horizontal line above an apex, we may remain moderately confident that we remain within the homogeneous landscape of the Latin alphabet. But language and script are two layers of the same thing: you may not understand your native typographic landscape, but at least you can read its elements – you may not know what it means, but you have penetrated the outer shell. However, should you find yourself within a landscape which uses a different writing system, you will find it an altogether tougher nut to crack.” [Marek Nedelka, National Letters in National Letters]