Keynote speakers

At Lavender Languages and Linguistics 24, we will have two plenary speakers: Dr Helen Sauntson (York St John University) and Prof. Paul Baker (Lancaster University). We are also lucky to have the founder of the conference series, Prof. William Leap (American University and Florida Atlantic University), speaking on the past and future of language and sexuality research. These speakers’ abstracts are below.

Helen Sauntson | Queer/ing Applied Linguistics: Researching Language and Sexuality in Schools

This presentation responds to calls for more attention to be paid to how linguistic analysis can offer important insights into sexualities and education, and for greater dialogue between applied linguistics and queer linguistics (Nelson, 2012). I propose that a ‘queer applied linguistics’ (QAL) approach may be used effectively to investigate how gender and sexual identities are constructed through language in schools, and what the application of methods of spoken and written discourse analysis reveal about the relationship between language and sexuality in school settings. I argue that QAL may be defined as critical applied linguistics (Hall, Smith & Wicaksono, 2011; Pennycook, 2008) which is informed by queer theory and queer linguistics and applied to real-life contexts. QAL is primarily concerned with inequalities around gender and sexuality and has a social justice orientation in its intended applications.

The presentation exemplifies this approach by drawing on a recent research project which conducts a detailed and systematic examination of the diverse ways that language can play a role in constructions of sexual identities in school contexts. Throughout this examination, I address three theoretical issues in queer linguistics currently receiving much attention – temporality, space and normativity – and consider their applications to the analysis of language in school contexts.

The presentation draws on data comprising spoken interactional data taken from Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons; interviews with LGBT+-identified young people; interviews with teachers and trainee teachers; and PSHE and Health Education curriculum documents. Data are analysed using a combination of corpus linguistics, critical discourse analysis, tactics of intersubjectivity and appraisal analysis within an overarching QAL approach.


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