June 24-30, 2018 at Florida Atlantic University

The first Lavender Languages Institute at Florida Atlantic University will be six days of workshops, discussion sessions and informal conversations explore topics of current interest in language and sexuality studies, queer linguistics, and various lavender language themes. 

Topics that will be addressed include: critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, language/sexuality/history; language and the queer of color critique; language, sexuality and postcolonial theory; language and sexuality in diaspora. Plus, defining a language/sexuality research problem, securing research funding, publishing findings, and queer classroom pedagogy.

Who Should Attend?

·         Those just beginning language and sexuality studies.
·         Those preparing undergraduate or graduate research topics (including thesis proposals).
·         Those seeking a safe space to examine language/sexuality topics in depth.

Cost of Participation?

·         A $250 administrative fee in lieu of tuition *
·         On-campus housing, double occupancy room $31 or single occupancy room $31, includes linens
·         Meals and incidentals
·         Round trip travel to FAU**
*Those seeking course credit may make individual arrangements with institute staff prior to the start of the summer program.
**FAU Boca campus is served by airports in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. All three airports connect directly to campus via the regional Tri-Rail (train) service.

This year's application is now open! Deadline to register April 1st, 2018.

                                         Click here to apply                                                 


For more information, please contact: William Leap- wleap@fau.edu



Tentative Schedule

9:00am-5:00pm: Classes on the Following Topics:

  • Corpus Linguistics in Language and Sexuality Studies (Dr. Motschenbacher)

  • Critical Discourse Analysis (Dr. Peterson)

  • Language, Sexuality, History (Dr. Leap)

  • Language and Black Queer Experience (Dr. Lane)

  • Language and Queer Diasporas: Asymmetries in Sexual Rights and Political Ideologies (Dr. Viteri)

  • Language and Postcolonial Queer Critique (Dr. Kini, Dr. Valenzuela, Dr. Horswell)

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch Hour

  • Opportunity for round table discussions on additional topics

5:30pm and On: Personal Time

  • Research
  • Conferences
  • Free Time


Workshop Descriptions

Corpus Linguistics and Sexuality

Heiko Motschenbacher, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences Bergen / Florida Atlantic University

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.

Critical Discourse Analysis

David Peterson (University of Nebraska- Omaha)

The session introduces the theories, methods, and practices of critical discourse analysis as developed by Normal Fairclough. Using sample texts and participants’ own textual data, session attendees will explore how people draw on various linguistic resources to address sexuality, desire, and identity in spoken and written discourse. Workshop practice emphasizes techniques for drilling down into the linguistic data to discover how queer language practices unfold lexically, grammatically, and semantically at both the level of clauses and across texts. Particular attention will be paid to orders of discourse (text-makers’ selections of genres, discourses, and styles) and the use of transitivity, taxonomies, and taxis to build and communicate representations of sexuality, desire, and identity.

Language, Sexuality, History

William Leap (Florida Atlantic University)

Discussions of language, sexuality and history often orient around linear sequence and chronology, specifying how e.g.  earlier became later, past became present, or then became now. Yet there are “far more possibilities for living than time as measurement would lead us to believe” (Dinshaw 2012: 1370.) But to engage those “possibilities of living”, studies of language, sexuality and history must look beyond “linear narratives in which [historical] meaning succeeds in revealing itself—as itself—through time” (Edelman 2004: 4.) Recent work in   queer theory provide several points of inquiry to that end, e.g.  anachronism, silence, refusal, spectral haunting, disidentification, and textual “messiness.”  In this workshop, we consider the data on language and sexuality available within the verbal, musical, spatial and other archive, and the accounts of queer linguistic history that can be constructed following points of inquiry like those above.   Data-sets for in-class activities will be provided, but please bring your own data-sets if you have them.

Language and Queer Diaspora: Asymmetries in Sexual Rights and Political Ideologies

Mara Amelia  Viteri  (Universidad San Francisco de Quito - USFQ)

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.  Across this workshop, we will engage with media, social network, and government narratives including discourse analysis, in order to problematize how ethnically marked categories such as “Latinidad”, “migrant”, “queer” are imbricated with belonging and its politics around space and territory. 

Language and Black Queer Experience

Nikki Lane (American University)

In this class, we will cover issues related to what Geneva B. Smitherman and James Baldwin have referred to as “Black Talk,” as they intersect with Black queer life. After a brief survey of Black language ideologies, engaging how those ideologies take shape within Black cultural productions including popular media, we will discuss particular ways that Black queer people have created unique language practices that reflect their subcultural needs. We will examine the work of Marlon Bailey, E. Patrick Johnson, Marlon B. Ross, C. Riley Snorton, and Carlos Decena. Throughout the course we will consider how various examinations of Black queer life might be extended if examined through the lens of language use and practices. Finally, we will consider a case study of the word “ratchet,” often used to point out bad (Black) behavior. We will work through examples from the most recent linguistic anthropological work of the instructor, who considers the way “ratchet” and its attended discourses of race, gender, sexuality and class, were used among Black queer women in Washington, D.C. to stake out their position within the emerging debates regarding respectability politics within Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and otherwise queer communities who are increasingly becoming recognized within the Black middle-class.

Language, Sexuality and Postcolonial Queer Critique

Ashvin Kini, José de la Garza Valenzuela , and Michael Horswell (Florida Atlantic University)  

This session will take a comparative, multi-regional, and transhistorical approach to trace the complex relationships between language, sexuality and colonialism. Drawing on cultural texts and scholarship from South Asia, Africa and the Americas, participants will analyze language as a contested site through which colonial racial and sexual power relations are both exerted and resisted. We will pay particular attention to how the politics of language in colonial and postcolonial contexts shapes notions of gender and sexual normativity, queer migrant and diasporic identities, anticolonial struggle, archival reading practices, and processes of transculturation. Participants will also have the opportunity to workshop their research projects.


Meet the Faculty

William LeapDr. William Leap       

William L. Leap, PhD, is an Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the American University (Washington, DC) and an Affiliate Professor in the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL). He is the founding senior editor of the Journal of Language & Sexuality and, since 1993, has coordinated the annual program of the Lavender Language Conference. His writings about language and sexuality address topics as varied as race/class inequities, gender differences, language socialization, homophobia/hate speech, gay pornography, trans-national circulations, subaltern voice, and problems of queer historiography. Key publications include American Indian English (1993), Word’s Out: Gay Men’s English (1996), Out in Public: Reinventing Lesbian/Gay Anthropology in a Globalizing World (co-edited with Ellen Lewin), Speaking in Queer Tongues: Gay Language and Globalization (co-edited with Tom Boellstorff), and the widely reprinted papers “Language, socialization and silence in gay adolescence’, “Queering gay men’s English”, and “Homophobia as moral geography.” He is currently completing a multi-disciplinary study of language, identity and same-sex desire in the US military, in Renaissance-era Harlem, in women’s softball teams, in cruising sites, and in other locations “before” Stonewall.    


Dr. Michael HorswellDr. Michael Horswell

Michael J. Horswell, PhD, is Dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Horswell earned his Ph.D. in Latin American literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. He also holds a MA in Spanish from Middleburry College in Vermont, and a BA in Spanish and Business Economics from Wofford College. Dr. Horswell specializes in the literature and culture of the colonial period as  well as  indigenous literatures of the Andes. His first book, Decolonizing the Sodomite: Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture, focused on indigenous gender and sexuality as tropes used in the representation of the conquest and colonization of the Americas. His interest in the confluence of sexuality and culture in the Hispanic world has led to two recent collections of essays co-edited with Dr. Nuria Godón, Sexualidades Periféricas. Consolidaciones literarias y fílmicas en la España de fin de siglo XIX y fin de milenio (Madrid: Fundamentos, 2016) and the special issue of the  Journal of Language and Sexuality on the theme of "Transnational Discourses of Peripheral Sexualities in the Hispanic World" (Vol. 5, no. 2: 2016).  Desiring Pizarros and Incas: Comparative Andean Affects and the Writing of Conquest.


Nikki Lane

Dr. Nikki Lane

Nikki Lane is an independent, interdisciplinary scholar trained as a Cultural and Linguistic Anthropologist currently teaching courses in American Studies at American University and in Women's Studies at the George Washington University. Her ethnographic research has dealt with issues in American Popular Culture, urban spatial politics, and sexual cultures throughout the African Diaspora. Her current book project, under contract with Palgrave MacMillan, is tentatively titled Ratchet: Race, Gender, Sexuality and the (Anti)Politics of Respectability and explores the use of the word “ratchet” in a community of Black queer women in Washington, DC. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @thedoctorlane or visit her website thedoctorlane.com where she regularly shares short videos about Black Pop Culture, upcoming course syllabi related to race, gender and sexuality in the pop culture, and individual lesson plans to help educators bring pop culture into the classroom.  



Ashvin KiniDr. Ashvin Kini

Ashvin R. Kini is an Assistant Professor of English, Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Kini received his PhD in Literature (Cultural Studies) from UC San Diego in 2016. His dissertation is titled: “Racial Encounters: Queer Affiliations in Black and South Asian Diasporas”. He also holds a M.A., English (Certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies) and a B.A. English, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently at work on a book manuscript that examines diasporic Black and South Asian literature and cinema to explore queer and feminist models of affiliation and coalition attentive to nonequivalent histories of colonialism and gendered racialization. His work has appeared in South Asian Review and The Journal of Intercultural Studies.



David PetersonDr. David Peterson 

David Peterson is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, teaching courses in American literature and culture, systemic-functional linguistics, queer Western American literature, and text-based research methods. A pioneer of applying Faircloughian critical discourse analysis and Hallidayan functional grammar to studying homophobic language, his articles on homophobia have appeared in Gender and Language, the Journal of Homosexuality, the Journal of Language and Sexuality, and Queering Paradigms. He is currently working on a book-length analysis of homophobic language use in the neoliberal moment. 




Maria Amelia ViteriDr. Maria Amelia Viteri

Maria Amelia Viteri is a Professor of Anthropology at the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito. Dr. Viteri holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from American University, in Washington D.C., with a concentration on Race, Gender and Social Justice.  Her main areas of research have been examining the intersections between race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and migrant status and how these are closely related to inequality, violence, belonging, nutrition, curricula, LGBT, women, migrants and children's rights. Dr. Viteri's work has informed both academic knowledge and public policy.  She has published extensively, in English and Spanish, for both an academic audience, as well as to inform public policy and the international development field. Her latest applied research work looks at what are known as “illegal” markets from a gender perspective in eight Latin American countries.  In addition, her long-term research project looks at belonging and place among U.S. retirees in Cotacachi, Ecuador and second generation Ecuadorians in NYC.



Jose de la Garza ValenzuelaDr. Jose de la Garza Valenzuela

José A. de la Garza Valenzuela ia an Assistant Professor of U. S. Latino/ a Literatures at Florida Atlantic University. He received his Ph. D. in English from Miami University (Ohio) in 2016, with a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His dissertation investigates the relationship of citizenship and sexuality in gay Chicano fiction. His research has been awarded the Frederick A. Cervantes Award by the National Association of Chcana/o Studies. For the past year, he has been a Chancellor’s PostDoctoral Research Associate at the University of Illinois, UrbanaChampaign in the Department of Latina and Latino Studies. He has an article forthcoming on Arturo Islas’ The Rain God in a collection on the queer Latino/a immigrant experience.




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Dr. Heiko Motschenbacher

Heiko Motschenbacher is Professor of English as a Second/Foreign Language at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen. He completed his PhD and Habilitation in English Linguistics at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main and held temporary professorships at universities in Bayreuth, Siegen, Braunschweig and Mainz. Currently, he is working at Florida Atlantic University on a project entitled Linguistic Dimensions of Sexual Normativity, for which he has received a Marie Curie Global Fellowship. He is co-editor of the Journal of Language and Sexuality. His research interests include language, gender and sexuality, critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, English as a lingua franca, language, nationalism and Europeanisation, and linguistic inclusion in ELT.