Panel on "The Variance of Sexual Normativity" at Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conference 2020

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San Francisco,
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Call for Papers

Panel Title:  The Variance of Sexual Normativity

Organizers: William Leap and Heiko Motschenbacher

For:    The 27th Annual Lavender Languages Conference, March 27-29, 2020, San Francisco, CA


Discussions of heteronormativity are often phrased in the singular, to make the point that the privileges and exclusions associated with a heteronormative position are consistent and invariant, regardless of temporal or social location. In much the same way, discussions of homonormativity often assume that certain consistencies in privilege and exclusion extend, without variation, to same-sex and transgressive sexual subjects, regardless of context. Understandably, discussions of hetero/homonormativity often begin to consider how various claims to sexuality become a source -- or an obstacle -- to normative compliance. Not discounting the importance of such inquiry, this panel remains focused on the texture of the normative in such instances. The language-centered case studies discussed in this panel show how normative demands and their regulatory consequences can be as variable and flexible as are the subjects’ demonstrations of normative compliance or resistance.

            The panel organizers invite colleagues to propose papers for this session which use context-specific discussions of language and sexuality to disclose the variability underlying hetero- and homo- (and other?) sexual normativities. We welcome papers addressing language and normativity in historical as well as contemporary contexts.   We are eager to receive papers that work with languages other than English.  

For your paper to be considered for this panel, please submit your proposal to the session organizers (email addresses below) no later than September 15th.  Conference rules ask that you limit your abstract to 350 words and include nothing that reveals your identity.



Borba, Rodrigo; Milani, Tommaso M. (2017): The banality of evil: Crystallised structures of cisnormativity and tactics of resistance in a Brazilian gender clinic. Journal of Language and Discrimination 1 (1), 7–33.

Ericsson, Stina (2018): The language of cisnormativity: Children and parents in interaction with a multimodal app. Gender and Language 12 (2), 139–167.

Hall, Kira; Levon, Erez; Milani, Tommaso (2019): Navigating normativities: Gender and sexuality in text and talk. Language in Society 48 (4), forthcoming.

Jones, Lucy (2019): Discourses of transnormativity in vloggers’ identity construction. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 256, 85–101.

Kitzinger, Celia (2005): Heteronormativity in action: Reproducing the heterosexual nuclear family in after-hours medical calls. Social Problems 52 (4), 477–498.

Leap, William L. (2013): Queering language and normativity. Discourse & Society 24 (5), 643–648.

Leap, William L. (2015): Queer linguistics as critical discourse analysis. In: Deborah Tannen, Heidi E. Hamilton & Deborah Schiffrin (eds.): The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Second edition. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 661–680.

Motschenbacher, Heiko (2011): Taking Queer Linguistics further: Sociolinguistics and critical heteronormativity research. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 212, 149–179.

Motschenbacher, Heiko (2013): 'Now everybody can wear a skirt': Linguistic constructions of non-heteronormativity at Eurovision Song Contest press conferences. Discourse & Society 24 (5), 590–614.

Motschenbacher, Heiko (2014): Focusing on normativity in language and sexuality studies: Insights from conversations on objectophilia. Critical Discourse Studies 11 (1), 49–70.

Motschenbacher, Heiko (2018): Sexuality in critical discourse studies. In: John Flowerdew & John E. Richardson (eds.): The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies. Oxford: Routledge, 388–402.

Motschenbacher, Heiko (2019): Language and sexual normativity. In: Barrett, Rusty & Hall, Kira (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Paiz, Joshua M. (2015): Over the monochrome rainbow: Heteronormativity in ESL reading texts and textbooks. Journal of Language and Sexuality 4 (1), 77–101.

Schneider, Britta (2013): Heteronormativity and queerness in transnational heterosexual Salsa communities. Discourse & Society 24 (5), 553–571.

Schneider, Britta (2013): 'In Salsa, it's okay to be a woman': Legitimating heteronormativity in a culturally 'other' environment. Journal of Language and Sexuality 2 (2), 262–291.


For more information on this session please contact the session organizers:

William Leap

Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, American University

Affiliated Faculty, Center for Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies,

Florida Atlantic University

Heiko Motschenbacher

Professor of English as a Second/Foreign Language

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Bergen


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