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Lavender Languages | Sessions under Development

2015 Sessions

Current sessions under development for 2015 conference (see also 2015 Preliminary Program

But additional ideas for presentations, panels or other conference activities are always welcomed! Send your new proposal directly to the program committee c/o wlm@american.edu. Contact the session organizers below to submit a proposal for presentation in one of the sessions listed here.


(Anti)Homophobic Discourse Analysis

(Anti)Homophobic Discourse Analysis Sessions focusing on (anti)homophobic discourse have been a regular feature of the Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conference since 2003. Previous presenters have explored a wide range of linguistic-based issues regarding (anti)homophobic text from a variety of approaches and methodologies. Papers are invited on any aspect of language and homophobia, including, but not limited to: 

  • (Anti)Homophobic Text Analysis
  • lexical, syntactic, grammatical choice
  • Semantics & semantic relations
  • Genre analysis
  • Intertextuality, etc.
  • (Anti)Homophobic discourses
  • Religious
  • Scientific/pseudo-scientific
  • Economic
  • Political
  • Educational
  • Familial, etc.
  • (Anti)Homophobic contexts
  • Social structures & practices governing textual production and/or reception
  • Social structures legitimating textual production and/or reception
  • New approaches to/new methodologies for (anti)homophobic language studies

Prospective presenters are encouraged to review the special issue of Gender and Language 4.2 (2011) for an overview of linguistic-based research into (anti)homophobic discourse. 

Please submit abstracts of 300-500 words.

Contact: David Peterson (U Nebraska–Omaha)


Discussing the Demarcation of the Trans Experience in Discourse

Discussing the demarcation of the trans experience in discourse The reality of trans bodies lies outside of cisgender/heteronormative understandings and language; therefore, fitting trans bodies into that reality requires trans bodies to be sexualized, fetishized, and/or disassociated from their humanity and individuality. This panel calls for papers that examine and investigate the language defining trans bodies (or the language defined by trans bodies) in different, conceivably contradicting, spaces. The spaces of porn, academia, medicine, public opinion (cultural), self-perception are some examples of domains in which such language can be investigated; however, papers examining the language on trans bodies in any setting are welcomed. Existing work by Elijah Edelman, Vivian Namaste, and Aren Aizura may provide inspiration and grounding for orienting research for this panel; however, these scholar represent only a small portion of the diverse precedent we hope to see incorporated in the papers for this panel.

Emma Whalen (American U), sw1674a@student.american.edu
Elijah Palmerin-Marquez (American U), ep0803a@student.american.edu


Homormativity, Homonationalism, and Language

This panel will consider the impact of neoliberal discourses on the construction and representation of LGBT identities and communities. By homonormativity, we refer to Duggan's (2003) argument that LGBT culture has become assimilationist and no longer rejects or contests dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions. In referring to homonationalism, we invoke Puar's (2007) claim that the queer body has been largely represented as a white one, leading to the othering of non-white bodies within LGBT culture.

Abstracts for papers which question, critique, offer insight into or explore the impact of homonormativity and/or homonationalism on modern LGBT speakers are welcomed. We would be keen to receive proposals which take a range of linguistic and theoretical approaches to this broad subject.

Please send proposals or questions by November 7, 2014.
Contact: Lucy Jones (U Nottingham, UK)


Language, Islam and Sexuality in Francophone Cultures

This panel will adopt an intersectional approach to examine language, sexuality, and the Islamic faith in French and Francophone cultures. Papers under development for this session include ethnographic fieldwork on growing up "gay," "Muslim," and "beur" (second-generation North African French) in the Paris banlieue, as well as "gay Muslims" growing up in the French countryside.Scholars working on language-focused papers in any disciplinary background are encouraged to submit a proposal, and we would particularly encourage papers focusing on first-person narratives as well as cinematic, literary, and photographic cultural productions from other French-speaking countries that would complement this fieldwork on sexuality and Islam in France.

Please send proposals by December 1, 2014.
Contact: Denis Provencher (U Maryland-Baltimore County)


Language Learning & Sexuality

Although considerations of identity have become increasingly present in the literature on language learning, sexuality remains infrequently discussed in this domain. This panel seeks to explore questions sexuality in language learning and welcomes proposals that treat this topic from a variety of theoretical perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds. Papers currently under development for this session engage with student sexual identity and sexuality-related perceptions of language varieties using Dörnyei's theoretical L2 self-system. In this system, imagined future second language selves serve as a motivator or demotivator for language acquisition. Papers for this session may consider a range of topics in language learning and sexuality including, but not limited to, the treatment of sexuality in the language classroom, the sexuality of language learners and teachers, as well as students' and teachers' perceptions of foreign languages as sexualized. 

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to Kris Knisely, session organizer, by December 1, 2014. 

Contact: Kris Knisely (Emory University)


Lavender Languages, Queer Ecologies

Recent work in queer theory that examines normative regulations of sex, nature, politics and desire (e.g. Giffney and Hird, eds. 2008, Mortimer-Sandilands and Erikson, eds. 2010) also addresses many of the questions   being explored in ecological linguistics (e.g., Bringhurst 2002, Fill and Mühlhäusler, eds 2001, Thornton 2008). Areas of common interest include discursive practices  that distinguish human from the inhuman and the nonhuman and  that mark sites (and their residents and other resources) as valuable or devoid of merit.Issue of reproductive justice are relevant here, particularly so, issues specifying  the meaning of justice (or exclusion) in contexts of reproductive  and sexual health. And so are the criteria that assign certain ways of speaking , writing, signing etc. the status of  "language" — thereby making them eligible for validation by regulatory authority.  

The Lav Lgs conference has engaged some of these common interests in panel discussions in previous years. This year's session continue those discussions. But with unexpected effects of global warming,new formsofinvoluntary migration, and unresolvedinequities in health care and social services delivery reshaping domestic agendas throughout the global North (and beyond),the ecological inflections of queerness across "race, class and gender boundaries"assumes an additionally somber tone. Papers using language-centered analysis to engage the new urgencies in queer ecology studiesare especially welcomed.   

Contact: William Leap (American U)


Brighthurst, Robert. 2002.  The tree of meaning and the work of ecological linguistics. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 7 (2): 9- 22. 

Fill, Alwin and Peter Mülhäusler. 2001. The Ecolinguistics Reader: Language, Ecology and Environment. London and New York: Continuum.  

Giffney, Noreen and Mura J. Hird, eds. . 2008. Queering the Non/Human. Noreen Giffney and Myra J. Hird, eds. pp. 1-16. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Mortimer-Sandilands, Catriona and Bruce Erickson. 2010 Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, and Desire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.  

Thornton, Thomas F. 2008. Being and Place among the Tlingit. Seattle: University of Washington Press.


LGBTQ Discourses in Contentious Politics and Social Movements

We have been witnessing almost a global surge in social movements, protests, and contentious politics in the past decade — more so since the inception of the Arab Spring and the #occupywallstreet movements. These include, but are not limited to, the ongoing struggle in Brazil, and the uprisings that took place within the last year in Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Ukraine, and Spain. In these movements we have seen non-aligned individuals and groups with different, sometimes opposing, ideologies coming together for the common goal of the movement. These assemblages, however, turned to familiar cultural repertoires as resources to fuel their discourses.

Stemming from this idea that discourses of the recent social movements overlap, at least to some extent, with the discourses they are trying to resist, this panel turns its gaze to the discourses of LGBTQ groups within these movements. LGBTQ groups occupy a unique space where they are not only marginalized by the hegemonic discourses, but they are also considered on the margins of the movements themselves — relative to the mainstream discourses. This panel examines the extent to which discourses of LGBTQ groups offer innovations to the discourses of the social movements. In other words, this panel asks: if and how the discourses of LGBTQ groups affect the discourses of broader resistances. Papers may draw from Arab Spring to #OWS to the most recent uprisings in Bulgaria, Brazil, Turkey, Greece, Armenia, to efforts to include LGBTQ voices in Republican Party and Tea Party discourse in the USA. 

Contact: Ali E. Erol (American U)


Porn Languages, Bodies and Technologies
The language we use to speak about porn, bodies and bodies in porn is fraught with intersections to technology. The body becomes digitized, narrated and projected onto screens throughout the world in manners previously unthinkable. The ways in which we understand these bodies and pleasures are reflected in the language we use to talk about porn, bodies and technology. At the same time, the body and its capacities/potentialities are expanded through the use of technologies intended to create, extend, discipline and otherwise inform pleasure and the images of pleasure. How do we talk about these intersections of bodies, porn and technology? What does our language use tell us about how bodies are configured/created? How have various technologies (bio-medical, digital, streaming, etc) influenced the ways in which we use language to speak of bodies and their potentialities?

This panel continues the discussions of pornography and language that nurtured at the Lav Lgs conference over the past few years. Papers may address any aspect of the intersections between language, pornography and bodies. 

Contact: Brian Adams

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