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William Leap

Department of Anthropology

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Professor, Department of Anthropology
    Participating faculty: American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs
  • William Leap’s career in public anthropology has included work with American Indian tribes (community organizing, language renewal, teaching retraining), engagements with language, sexuality, and HIV politics in the urban US and urban South Africa, studies of gay language and “gay men’s English” as local and global formations, and multiple projects (at AU, in DC, in the American Anthropological Association and in other public settings) designed to build alliances between dissident gendered and sexual voices. He is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Language and Sexuality. Since 1993, he has coordinated the annual AU Conference on Lavender Languages and Linguistics. He has published seven books and edited collections and numerous essays in language and sexuality studies.
  • Degrees

    PhD, Anthropology, Linguistics Concentration, Southern Methodist University
    BA, Anthropology and Linguistics, Florida State University

  • CAS - Anthropology
  • Hamilton - 201A
  • Spring 2015: Tuesdays 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Other times by appointment.

  • (202) 885-1831 (Work)
  • (202) 885-1837 (Fax)
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  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


  • Summer 2014

  • Fall 2014

    • ANTH-640 Current Issues in Anthropology: Anthropology and Queer Theory
    • Description
  • Spring 2015

    • ANTH-637 Discourse, Text, and Voice: Engaging Social Justice
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

 Public anthropology; Language, Sexuality, Ideology and Globalization; lesbian/gay/transgender studies

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Out in Theory (co-edited with Ellen Lewin, 2002 )  received the Ruth Benedict prize for outstanding edited collection in lesbian/gay anthropology in 2003, Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists, American Anthropological Association , 2004 .  It was chosen as one of Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2003

Word's Out (Leap, 1996)   received the Ruth Benedict prize for the outstanding lesbian/gay monograph of 1996, Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists, American Anthropological Association , 1996.

Selected Publications

  • Lewin, Ellen and William L. Leap, eds. 1976 Out in The Field  Urbana: University of  Illinois Press., 2002 Out in Theory Urbana: University of Illinois Press., 2009 Out in Public New York City: Blackwells.
  • Leap, William and Tom Boellstorff, eds. 2004  Speaking in Queer Tongues: Gay Language and Globalization.Urbana: University of Illinois Press., Leap, William 1993 American Indian English. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
  • 1996  Word’s Out: Gay Men’s English. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press) 
  • 2003  Language and gendered modernity. in The Handbook of Language and Gender. Janet Holmes and Miriam Meyerhoff, eds pp. 401-422. London:  Blackwells.
  • 2005  Finding the centre: Claiming gay space in Cape Town, South Africa in Performing Queer-Shaping Sexuality. 1994-2004. Mikki van Zyl and Melissa Styn, eds. Pp 235-266. Cape Town: Kwela Press.
  • 2008  "Queering gay men’s English.” in Language and Gender Research Methodologies. Kate Harrington, Lia Litosseliti,  Helen Sauntson, and Jane Sunderland, eds.  pp. 408-429. Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • 2008  “True thing that binds us”: Globalization, U.S. language pluralism and gay men’s English.” in The Impact of Globalization on the United States: Culture And Society. Michelle Bertho, eds. pp.183-209. Westport CT: Praeger Publishers.

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Lesbian, gay, and transgender issues; gay language; language, sexuality and public media; pornography; gay media; same-sex marriage; homophobia; AIDS

Additional Information: William (Bill) Leap
is coeditor of the Journal of Language and Sexuality. His recent publications include special issues of the journals Gender and Language (fall 2011) and Journal of Homosexuality (summer 2011) and the collection Out in Public: Lesbian and Gay Anthropology in a Globalizing World,coedited with Ellen Lewin (2009).

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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