Back to top

William Leap Prof Emeritus Department of Anthropology

Additional Positions at AU
Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology
PhD, Anthropology, Linguistics Concentration, Southern Methodist University
BA, Anthropology and Linguistics, Florida State University

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. He is currently finishing the edits on his new book, "Language Before Stonewall." Not in residence, 2016-2017.
See Also
Anthropology Department
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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.