Course Description


William L. Leap, Ph.D., Exploring Language in the Sexual Archive

A sexual archive is an aggregate of distinctive, and often overlapping and competing, data sources offering insights into normative and transgressive longings, desires, object choices, celebrated and taboo’d pleasures and practices relevant to specific social, spatial and temporal settings. Data sources assume multiple formats, just as the archive addressed multiple functions. Hence Halberstam describes the archive addressing the brutal 1993 murder of trans subject Brandon Teena in Falls City NB as “simultaneously a resource, a productive narrative, a set of representations, a history, a memorial, and a time capsule” (2005: 23).

            Queer historical linguistics is dependent on sexual archives and their data sources for its studies of language before. Activities in the class introduce various procedures for locating, extracting/reconstructing, and analyzing indications of linguistic practice within those data sources, and for drawing conclusions about normative and transgressive sexualities based on linguistic evidence. Procedures of particular interest include: close reading (Freeman 2010), reading backwards (Love 2007), homohistory (Goldberg and Menon 2005, Menon 2008) and queer philology (Marsten 2016).    



Nicole Erin Morse, Ph.D., #Trans: The Language of Gender on Social Media

In this course, we will explore how language around gender identity has evolved on and with social media platforms, exploring how hashtags, emojis, image captions, memes, selfies, and other digital media practices shape and are shaped by contemporary transgender politics, identities, and experiences. Through both analysis and creative production, students will examine the online language(s) of gender identity, explore the affordances of social media platforms, and produce their own accounts of subcultural language practices.


David J Peterson, Ph.D., Hate Speech: Queer Critical Discourse Analytic Approaches

This course considers forms of hate speech that target people who engage in nonnormative gendered/sexual behaviors or who identify (or are identified by others) as nonnormative We explore current and emerging theories and methods suitable for conducting analysis hate speech. While we explore how hate speech expresses disdain, disgust, or hatred (i.e.,‘wounding words’), then we move beyond this general model to more complex ones grounded in critical discourse analytic approaches that help us better understand hate speech’s ideological functions and how these functions vary according to context.


Nikki Lane, When Black Women Speak

In this class, we survey issues in Black women’s language use and practices. We will read the work of Toni Morrison, L.H. Stallings, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neale Hurston. After defining what Geneva B. Smitherman and James Baldwin have referred to as “Black Talk,” we examine the intersections of Black language ideologies and gender ideologies, engaging how each take shape within Black sexual politics, and Black women’s cultural productions including film, literature, and poetry. We will ask how Black women’s language practices become so widely circulated beyond Black communities. We will consider the ways in which Black women’s language practices carry particular kinds of power in Black communities and ask how racist and sexiest ideologies work to silence Black women’s voices, even as it extracts excess value from their words. Finally, we will consider a case study of Black women rappers in hip-hop who, as the instructor, Nikki Lane has argued, frequently “queer the mic” in an attempt to make space for themselves to particulate boldly as speaking subjects in hip-hop which rarely recognizes what they have to say.


Ashvin R. Kini, Ph.D., Jose de la Garza, Ph.D., and Michael J. Horswell, Ph.D., Queer Diaspora: Language, Sexuality, Migration

This session will take an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to trace the complex relationships between language, sexuality and migration through a consideration of the concept of queer diaspora. In its most conventional usage, diasporic analysis has privileged the nostalgic desire for return to a national homeland of the past, to recover the national self and community that was lost in the movement from one place to another. In contrast, queer diaspora allows for modes of identity and collectivity that operate in excess of and in contestation to normative conceptions of racialized gender and sexuality that lie at the heart of nationalist projects. Drawing on cultural texts and scholarship from the fields of diaspora studies, critical ethnic studies, and postcolonial studies, participants will analyze gender and sexuality as sites of both imperial and nationalist discipline, and also of possibility for new encounters with difference.



Maria Amelia Viteri Burbino, Ph.D., Language and post-colonial sexualities:  Masculinities 

Within the heteronormative regulation of the territory, what Curiel (2013) defines as a heterosexual nation regime, one of the most visible marks is that of gender. We will use a Queer Anthropological and (Trans)Feminist framework to analyze the conflicting dynamics and assemblages resulting from the clash between political ideologies and sexual rights in different contexts, from the Amazon to China (Blanca Muratorio, Lisa Rofel). Latin American decolonial (Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui) and postcolonial theory (Quijano, Aníbal, Boaventura Do Santos) will allow us to further explore the mechanics of language, gender and sexuality, and how these deploy dominant masculinities. Across this workshop, we will engage with social media, public and government discourses, in order to problematize how ethnically marked categories of “Latinidad”, “migrant”, “queer”, “terrorist” are imbricated with belonging and its politics around space and territory.


Heiko Motschenbacher, Ph.D., Corpus Linguistics and Sexuality 

This workshop will introduce students to central aspects of the relationship between language and sexuality and then focus more specifically on corpus linguistics as a methodology in language in sexuality studies. Students will learn basic corpus linguistic concepts and explore them through hands-on exercises with various corpus tools. Who is this workshop for? People who are planning to embark on a language and sexuality related research project and who wonder whether corpus linguistics is a useful tool to use. People already pursuing projects will find opportunities to explore corpus research tasks. Feel free to discuss your specific project individually with your instructor during the Summer Institute week.


Barclay Barrios, Ph.D., Queer Theory Crash Course

This intensive course will provide a condensed introduction to Queer Theory in order to provide context and background for other courses you might take at the Institute. We will cover major figures of the field including Michel Foucault, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Michael Warner, and Judith Butler and, towards the end of the course, examine recent trends in Queer Theory such as the development of Transgender Theory.