Queer/Trans Historical Linguistics

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Lavender Languages & Linguistics Conference

Call for Papers for a Session at the 29th Lavender Languages & Linguistics Conference

March 9-11, 2023, Boise State University, Boise Idaho


Session focus: Queer/Trans Historical Linguistics

Session organizers : William Leap (American U/Florida Atlantic U) and David Peterson (U Nebraska at Omaha)

Queer and Trans Historical Linguistics (QTHL) is a rapidly emerging subfield in Language, Gender and Sexuality Studies. We now have a rich archive of information to show queer language can be explored historically, and to show that historical linguistic inquiry can address queer themes relevant to discussions of discourse and text in the present time.

Historians often tell us that studying the past helps us understand the present. Given its status as an emergent critical-linguistic approach and praxis, the session organizers ask whether QTHL will remain merely as a source of historical documentation for the academically curious, of the affirming anecdote, or of museum display?

The panel organizers thus invite presentations that explore language, gender and sexuality within earlier historical contexts, offering new suggestions for the political work of linguistic “reconstruction.” The panel organizers also invite presentations that consider how language,  gender and sexuality from earlier times guide understandings of language, gender and sexuality in recent contexts, thereby demonstrating how “risks of anachronism” contribute to a contemporary progressive agenda in queer politics.

Presentations might address topics like the following, or any topic which refuse to treat history as a “linear narrative . . . in which meaning reveals itself, as itself, through time” (Edelman 2004: 4).

  • How can QTHL assist in contemporary acts of recovery of sociocultural/political memories?
  • Are QTHL methods and theories also useful for exploring trans, gender queer, and nonbinary historical discourses and practices? What/Where/When are the gaps? How
  • “messy” should the theorizing be to encompass the messy category of queer? Is QTHL the best cover-term for this work ?
  • How can QTHL contribute to queer theory’s and trans theory’s on-going critiques of monolithic, normative historical arguments.
  • Can QTHL inquiry(s) offer ways to interrogate white privilege, colonialist legacies, monolingual/standard language assumptions, and similar biases?
  • Can QTHL demystify gendered and sexualized consequences of language contact, language acculturation, transfiliation and translanguaging? If so, what can QTHL reveal about the (re)formations of gender(s) and sexuality(s) in settings where language use, and other components of cultural and social life, are (re)invented, mobilized differently, upstaged by colonialist demands ?
  • How does QTHL distinguish between in situ and emergent queer identities & normativities (identifications, negotiations, disidentifications, and/or refusals) in spatial and temporal settings "before" Stonewall?

IF You are interested in presenting a paper in this session:

  • Please submit a 300 word abstract to the session organizers [ William Leap (wlm@american.edu) and David Peterson (davidpeterso1@unomaha.edu)] before November 1, 2022. (This date gives organizers time to review abstracts and assemble the panel before the conference submission deadline [November 18]), and ensures that panel participants have time to register before the conference deadline.)
  • Please feel free to contact the panel organizers at any time if you have questions about the suitability of a presentation topic.

Note: This year’s conference will allow In-person and on-line presentations. Please indicate your preference when you send in your abstract.

For more information about the conference and for the format requirements for proposals, please visit the conference website: https://sites.google.com/boisestate.edu/lavenderlanguagesconference29/home