The Lavender Languages Conference, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year at American University in Washington, D.C., has grown to be North America's longest-running academic conference with a queer focus.
As it has blossomed into a three-day affair attracting scholars from as far away as Singapore, South Africa, Russia, Poland, and Japan, the conference also mirrors sea changes in queer studies, says William Leap, a professor in American University's College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Anthropology and founder and organizer of the Lavender Languages Conference.
The conference, which runs this year from February 15, is expected to draw up to 150 registrants and many other audience members. The event that attracted 18 presentations its first year; this time will have more than 80 papers.
Sessions will cover a wide variety of topics, among them neoliberal homophobia, varieties of speech in the drag speech community, the LGBTQ reclaiming of slurs, pornography, language use of transgendered men, sex and violence, and language and queer online communities.
Visual artist 2Fik will also present a performance, cosponsored by the American University's Arab Studies Program and the university's Center for Diversity and Inclusion, on fighting society's labels.
Secret to Conference's Longevity
So is the conference's founder surprised by the event's longevity?
"It's surprising in this sense," Leap says. "Lesbian-gay studies has evolved into queer studies, sexuality studies. It's diversified in ways we didn't expect when all this work started in the '90s. Many academic conferences, many academic programs, many presses with prestigious publications serieseven in queer studiesno longer exist. "It doesn't surprise me because we continue to get interest from rank-and-file students, from faculty, and from community persons who are interested in what the conference does."
|Contact: Maggie Barrett|