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Lavender Languages Conference celebrates 20 years at American University
Date:1/22/2013

re attracted to the event's "no-attitude" policy, meaning the conference addresses issues important to queer people in their daily lives, and people come to the conference to be part of that discussion, Leap says.

That openness makes it okay for undergraduates to approach experts in anthropology and linguistics and for graduate students to discuss their dissertations and educational opportunities.

The conference has also thrived because Leap strives to keep the costs down. Registration, for example, is administered by volunteers on the conference site.

Conference Inspires Scholarly Publications

Many edited collections and books important in the field have come out of the conference, and many others have arisen in response to work at the annual event.

So has a new international publication, the Journal of Language and Sexuality, whose editorial office is located in AU's Department of Anthropology. About half the people on the editorial board have been part of the conference in previous years, and several of the articles in the journal's first issues have resulted from recent conferences.

"When we started there was no queer linguistics," Leap says. "Studies of language and sexuality were barely recognized as a mode of inquiry. The conference has not been the only force, but the conference has been very active in creating a presence of interest in sexual sameness in linguistics. I'm very proud of that, and of the numbers of publications that have come out of the conference, the numbers of scholars who cut their teeth in this work in the context of Lavender and have gone on to do big things, some of whom are plenary speakers.

"It's certainly been the focal point in work I've done in lavender language, gay language, queer linguistics, since that time," Leap reflects. "It's a major part of our department's commitment to public anthropology to outreaching to constituencies and involving them in the cent
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Contact: Maggie Barrett
barrett@american.edu
202-885-5951
American University
Source:Eurekalert

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