LIN 350 • Language and Sexuality
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
Do lesbians and gay men use language in ways that mark them as different from their heterosexual counterparts? If so, do these practices represent mere differentiation, resistance, play, or something else? How do transgendered individuals learn to talk like members of the sex they wish to be taken as being? Is anything known about the language of bisexual women? How does language interact with sexuality in other cultures, where identity categories like 'lesbian', 'gay', and 'straight' don't seem to have the power they do in this culture? Where do language-based stereotypes like the lisping homosexual male come from? How is what one writer terms "compulsory heterosexuality" in this culture constructed through language? In this course, we seek to understand the complex relationship between language and sexuality by considering these questions and many more. Initially, we'll seek to understand how recent theorists have talked about issues of gender and sexual identity; then, well consider how this theorizing is supported (or called into question) by studies of language in use. Along the way, we'll consider the nature of identity (and identities), the social construction of gender and sexuality (as well as gendered sexuality), and language used by and about gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered individuals, and heterosexuals.
Two tests, a small-group project, and homework assignments throughout the course. This course does have an attendance policy.
A packet of readings