It is with deep sadness that we learned of Jan Blommaert’s passing on January 7th, 2021 at the age of 59.
Jan was an tireless educator, researcher and advisor and throughout his life gave numerous plenary talks, organized conferences and taught as visiting faculty in Universities all over the world. He published hundreds of academic papers in academic journals and gave our scholarly community books that fundamentally impacted the field of sociolinguistics: Discourse (2005), Grassroots Literacy (2008) and The Sociolinguistics of Globalization (2010). Jan was committed in uncovering the complexities of globalization and superdiversity and weaved in his analyses the critical role of language and discourse. His theoretical explorations were not without practical foundations and applications. Jan literally unearthed and analyzed data that he retrieved from various contexts and used it to explore issues like margins, immigration, diversity, minorities and above all inequality and power. Jan was an educator with immense enthusiasm for new ideas and projects, he was an social activist putting his knowledge into good use for society and an invaluable source of knowledge for anyone interacting with him.
Jan was an exceptionally brilliant mind and wonderful educator, who made significant contributions to his field and to Hellenic American University. Jan’s role in the PhD program in Language and Communication was outstanding, and his legacy will continue to live through his academic work, personality and educational achievements. Jan also played a leading role in our Europe in Discourse conferences. His memory will be kept alive by all his HAU students and colleagues. Months before his passing, Jan wrote on what is important in his scholarly life and reminded his students, colleagues and friends of the endless possibilities that learning with passion gives us. We share Jan’s account here (https://alternative-democracy-research.org/2020/04/20/what-was-important/). It is, we think, a wonderful tribute to Jan as a scholar and a human being.
Image: Professor Jan Blommaert at Europe in Discourse Conference