07 March 2011

Guangxi University

I spent five days last week as a guest at Guangxi University in Nanning, southern China. The campus is in many ways beautiful, with lots of trees and flowers; but I found it rather grey, perhaps because of the overcast weather. Maybe if I had gone there at a different time of the year, I would have appreciated it more.One of the things that struck me most was the lack of resources. Here is a picture of the libary (taken from their website). It is, indeed, a grand building. But inside? I couldn't find too many modern books.

In fact, one of the questions I was constantly asked was: how do we get published? And my answer was that you must have access to modern books. The people there are really keen to get involved in work on World Englishes, but none of them had even heard of writers such as Jennifer Jenkins, Andy Kirkpatrick or Edgar Schneider, much less read any of their materials. How can you expect to publish papers if you have not read recent books?

It is stunning to see so many hard-working, bright research students and academics beavering away at various research projects but having no access to the materials they need. And I see no prospect of them publishing in serious journals unless they get access to those materials.