13th May 2009 5:00pm-7:00pm

Grand Parade


Dr Dora Carpenter (University of Brighton)

Harissa.com is a sort of virtual Tunisia for Tunisian Jews in France and elsewhere. The site is home to a virtual community exchanging memories and handing on tradition for a nostalgic diaspora dispersed from Tunisia and for whom language has deep powers of evocation. The site is multilingual and displays a vast corpus of Judeo-Arabic/French code-switching. Judeo-Arabic in this context refers to the dialect of Tunisian Jews. Code-switching refers to using more than one language or dialect, in this case mixing Judeo-Arabic and French. On the border between the written and the oral, the mixed electronic writings on harissa.com define a virtual community and reveal a Judeo-Arabic dialect attempting to define itself when it is at risk of linguistic extinction.

Dr Dora Carpenter-Latiri is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Language, Literature and Communication. She studied at the University of Sorbonne – Paris IV where she also did her doctorate on the application of linguistic methodology to literary work. Her publications deal with minorities, identities, gender and intercultural issues. She is currently involved on a large project on electronic writing which have secured a grant of 22 000 Euros from French CNRS. Her research on harissa.com is part of this project.