Jeff Bale

When Arabic is the ‘Target’ Language: Title VI, National Security, and Arabic Language Programs, 1958–1991


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This article presents key findings from an interpretive policy analysis of the role that national security ideologies have played in the implementation of federal language education policies in the United States. To better understand this relationship, the study focuses on the case of Arabic language programs supported by Title VI between 1958 and 1991. Specifically, I argue that assessing how policy-relevant actors have enacted past language education policies explicitly linked to national security contributes to meeting two goals: 1) better understanding contemporary language education policies forged in the name of national security; and 2) helping clarify current debates about the most effective basis on which to advocate for language education, indeed for a more multilingual and just society.