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7th June, 2013

The Discursive Production of Everyday Hetrosexualities

Event Details

7th June, 2013
ArtsTwo Lecture Theatre, ArtsTwo Building, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University
Free, but booking required

The lecture will examine the role of talk in constructing speakers as heterosexual beings. Heterosexuality is a cultural construction relying on strictly enforced norms for its continuing dominance. Queer linguistics initially focused on the language of marked groups, such as gay men and lesbians, but is now widening its focus to explore the discursive construction of the unmarked category, heterosexuality. Drawing on a corpus of spontaneous conversation, this lecture will explore how heterosexuality is ‘done’ in everyday talk. Cameron and Kulick’s idea of ‘the heteronormative hierarchy’ will be used to demonstrate that not all heterosexualities are equal. The lecture will also demonstrate how closely sexuality and gender are linked, and will argue that this closeness is essential to the maintenance of heteronormativity. 

Jennifer Coates is Emeritus Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Roehampton, London. Her chief research interests are language, gender and sexuality, conversational structure, and conversational narrative. Her published work includes The Semantics of the Modal Auxiliaries (Routledge 1983); Women, Men and Language (3rd edition 2004); Women Talk. Conversation Between Women Friends (1996); Men Talk: Stories in the Making of Masculinities (2003); The Sociolinguistics of Narrative (co-edited with Joanna Thornborrow, 2005), and Language and Gender: A Reader (2nd edition co-edited with Pia Pichler, 2011). A collection of her language and gender papers is to be published in 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan under the title Women, Men and Everyday Talk. She has given lectures at universities all over the world and has held Visiting Professorships in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and Italy. She was made a Fellow of the English Association in 2002.

A Reception will follow the lecture.

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