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Lavender Languages | Sessions under Development

2016 Sessions under Development

Current sessions under development for Lav Langs 23 (2016) include the following — please contact the session organizer to submit a presentation for one of these sessions, as detailed in each abstract:


Please note also:

  • Interest in a session on QUEERNESS /QUEER CHARACTERS/ QUEER LANGUAGE IN COMICS is emerging. Want to join? Send ideas to wlm@american.edu for more details.
  • The program committee creates topical sessions based on the common interests of individually submitted papers. So send in your own ideas for a presentation — or a session — for next year’s conference to the program committee c/o wlm@american.edu   


Session Details and Contacts

(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 by December 1, 2015.

Contact: David Peterson (U Nebraska–Omaha)


Gender, Sexuality, and Language Learning

Early second language acquisition research that focused on affective variables implied questions of identity, but did not give them central consideration. More recent work, however, has begun to recognize the ways in which language learning is inherently entailed with questions of identity. As learners acquire a new language and information about the cultural context(s) in which the language is spoken, they must reconsider the way they understand their relationship to the world, across time and space. That is to say, they must reconsider their identity. The aspects of identity of particular interest for this panel are those of gender and sexuality. 

Papers are invited on a broad range of subtopics treating questions of gender and sexuality in second language education and learning. Questions addressed by papers in this session may include, but are not limited to: 

  • ?How do questions of gender and sexuality present themselves in different language learning contexts? 
  • ?If second language learning is a social practice negotiated between learner, teacher, and learning environment (cf Norton), how are gendered and sexualized identities negotiated in this process? 
  • ?How do gendered and sexualized power dynamics between the language learner and target language speaker empower or inhibit the learner from speaking in the target language and ultimately empower or inhibit learning development? 
  • ?What are the gender- and sexuality-related stereotypes held by learners and instructors of second languages? What are the origins and implications of such stereotypes? 
  • ?How do gender and sexuality enter into the second language learning frameworks proposed by researchers such as Dörnyei? 
  • ?What types of hidden curricula exist regarding gender and sexuality in second language courses? How do teacher training, dominant discourses, and pedagogical resources contribute to these hidden curricula? 

Papers considering learner and instructor identities and those addressing pedagogical approaches are particularly welcomed. Papers from individuals working in any disciplinary background are welcomed. 

Please send 300-500 word proposals by December 1, 2015.
Contact: Kris Knisely (University of South Dakota)


Language and LGBTQ Identity in the Era of Same-Sex Marriage 

Given the rapid shifts in public opinion regarding same-sex marriage and the recent Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states, this session invites proposals that explore how the LGBTQ community is reacting and adjusting to these societal shifts in terms of their identities and the linguistic presentation of self. 

Recent work (Whitlow and Ould, 2015) investigates the use of the term wife by married lesbians and discusses the effects of being married and open through the use of language and will be presented in this session. Others have suggested that the heteronormative script inherent in marriage and family life is eroding gay and lesbian culture (Bernstein and Taylor, 2013;Kimport, 2012). 

Other important and timely topics include the following and could be explored in this session: 1) how individuals or ethnic or minority groups not typically supported by families and communities are navigating this new status and whether, if they are marrying, marriage is affecting or shaping their identities;2) how identities are being forged through various styles of weddings;3) how a "post-gay" identity is being shaped by young people (Russell, 2009);4) how identity in the workplace, in institutional settings, and in other social contexts is being navigated and formed;5) how identity and marriage are being navigated in religious institutions and contexts. 

We invited all interested in exploring an issue related to same-sex marriage and identity to submit. 

Please send 300-500 word proposals by December 1, 2015. 

Contact: Julie Whitlow, Salem State University cwhitlow@salemstate.edu 


Bernstein, M., and V. Taylor. "Introduction: Marital discord." In The marrying kind? Debating same-sex marriage within the lesbian and gay movement, edited by M. Bernstein and V. Taylor. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. 

Kimport, K. "Remaking the white wedding? Same-sex wedding photographs' challenge to symbolic heteronormativity." Gender & Society 26, no. 6 (2012): 874-899. 

Russell, S. T. "Are teens "post-gay"? Contemporary adolescents' sexual identity labels." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 38, no. 7 (2009): 884-890. 

Whitlow, J. and P. Ould. Same-Sex Marriage, Context, and Lesbian Identity: Wedded but Not Always a Wife: Lexington Books, 2015. 


Language and Sexuality Studies in French & Francophone Cultures

This panel will adopt an intersectional approach to examine language and sexuality in French and Francophone cultures. Papers under development for this session include ethnographic fieldwork on queer Maghrebi artists and performers living in the disapora. 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, musical and photographic cultural productions from French-speaking contexts that would complement this fieldwork.

Please send 300-500 word proposals by December 1, 2015.
Contact: Denis Provencher (U Maryland-Baltimore County)


Lavender Languages, Queer Ecologies

Building on the success of this session at Lav 22, this call for papers invites proposals for presentations from scholars and activists using a language-centered lens to address themes in queer ecology.

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). The discursive practices that distinguish the human from the inhuman and the nonhuman are of interest here, and so are discursive practices that mark physical sites (and their residents and other resources) as valuable or devoid of merit. Issues 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 the status of "language" to certain ways of speaking, writing, signing — thereby making those practices of encoding/decoding eligible for validation by regulatory authority or vulnerable to oppression and shame.

In some ways, these are familiar issues for queer inquiry and for lavender language discussion. But the effects of global warming, new forms of involuntary migration, and unresolved inequities in health care and social services delivery in the current historical moment lends a particular urgency to the interrogation of ecological/linguistic queerness across and beyond race, class, gender and species boundaries in the current moment. Papers using language-centered analysis to engage this urgency in queer ecology studies are especially welcomed.

Please send 300-500 word proposals by December 1, 2015.

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.


Language, Sexuality, and National Belonging

This panel explores the ways in which the relationships between national belonging and sexual subjectivity are mediated through linguistic practice. In many contemporary societies, one must identity and present as heterosexual in order to be recognized as a full member of the nation (Boellstorff 2005, Phillips 2013) — in many cases resulting in conflicted relationships between LGBT citizens and the state. Papers in this session address the ways in which individuals and communities of practice seek to reconcile the dissonance between these conflicting identities. Of particular interest are the discursive practices designed to ease this tension, for instance the linguistic construction of alternative “coming out” narratives or the utilization of modified speech patterns in order to meet nationalist expectations related to gendered speech.

Abstracts that present new insights into, as well as the consequences of, how language, sexuality, and national belonging intersect are welcomed.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words by December 1, 2015.

Contact: Robert Phillips (Ball State University)


Porno-Metaphor and Metaphors of Porn

For many years, conservative and anti-porn feminist cultural pundits have railed against their perception of the pornographic colonizations of everyday life. This panel will not argue whether these concerns are valid. Instead, this panel will address the dynamism with which people make use of porn and porn makes use of people. Porn has certainly had effects upon the ways that we speak. For example, what does it mean to have sex ‘like a porn star’? On the other hand, our changing life worlds also affect what is representable in porn. For example, why does gay male porn use affective relationships such as daddy/son; priest/supplicant; fraternity initiates/brothers and what metaphoric meaning might be communicated or received by a specific audience? 

Essentially, papers in this panel will explore the ways that porn has become another means for the production of metaphor and/or how pornography exists as or creates metaphor. Overarching questions to be addressed by this panel might include: In what ways do people use the pornographic as a means to create new meanings, new languages, new metaphors? In what ways does porn use people and changes in contemporary life worlds to create new meanings and metaphoric representation? If we are, in fact, in the pharmacopornographic era (Preciado), what pornographic/sexual metaphors are necessary for understanding and making sense of this new era? Papers addressing the intersections between the pornographic, the pharmaceutical, new media and linguistic metaphor are of great interest. Papers addressing the ethnographic and socio-linguistic analysis of porno metaphors and metaphors of porn are also welcomed 

Please submit 300 word abstracts for presentations before December 1, 2015. 

Contact: Brian Adams-Thies



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