Hugo J. Mueller Linguistics Lecture Series

The Mueller Linguistic Lecture Series was established in the 1970s in honor of Dr. Hugo J. Mueller, who founded the Department of World Languages and Cultures in 1959. 

The revival of this AU tradition brings leading scholars on language as part of society to campus annually in line with American University’s goals of advancing intellectual knowledge and engaged scholarship that considers the world critically in order to solve pressing social questions. 

Fall 2023: Dr. Nelson Flores"A Raciolinguistic Genealogy of the Self"

In this presentation, I conduct a raciolinguistic genealogy of myself as a point of entry for theorizing the role of race in the postcolonial world. I begin by situating my family history within colonial relationships that led to my parent’s displacement from Latin America to the US where they found themselves racialized because of their use of Spanish and the impact of this on my raciolinguistic socialization. I then situate my professional trajectory into bilingual education within the legacy of the Bilingual Education Act (BEA) passed in the US in 1968. I connect the BEA to broader global reconfiguration of race that recruited a cadre of postcolonial elites into reliance on deficit ideologies as part of their advocacy for their communities. I position myself as an inheritor of this legacy and examine the ways that I have navigated it as an ESL teacher in US public schools as well as a bilingual education researcher at an elite US university.

A Raciolinguistic Genealogy of the Self


(Timestamp links will open in Youtube)

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 5:33 What Is a Raciolinguistic Geneology of the Self?
  • 13:31 Geneologically Situating Latinidad
  • 15:00 Reconfiguration of Race in the Postcolonial World
  • 23:03 My Raciolinguistic Socialization
  • 30:26 Two Orientations to Racial Inequity in the US Civil Rights Era
  • 31:31 Race, Language, and Culture of Poverty/Maintenance
  • 33:28 Bilingual Education Act
  • 40:15 The Contradiction
  • 50:47 Where Do I Go from Here?

"A Raciolinguistic Genealogy of the Self" by Dr. Nelson Flores (U Penn), October 26, 2023.

Hugo J. Mueller Linguistics Lecture Fund 

The Fund was established by Dr. Mueller through his generous bequest. Although these funds help to offset the costs of producing the lecture series, they do not fully support its needs. 

If you are interested in making a gift in support of the Hugo J. Mueller Linguistic Lecture Series, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 202-885-5900, or make your gift online