Paper Title

Queering Inclusive Language

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

2-4-2016 2:00 PM

End Date

2-4-2016 3:15 PM

Keywords

queer theory, language reform, inclusive language, identity politics

Abstract

The concept of inclusive language has been mobilized by multiple theorists and identity groups, in hopes that language reform will help foster change for greater social justice. All efforts for language reform have met with considerable resistance. The few that have succeeded, like the Civil Rights movement's replacement of negro with black and African American, the feminist movement's replacement of titles indicating a woman's relationship to a man with Ms., or the various queer and transgender movements' expansion of Gay and Lesbian into LGBT, or even LGBTQIA, and queer, have all been supported by major movements for social reform operating in times of great social upheaval. Subordinate groups have coined umbrella terms for the majority of their members that positively connote them in their difference from the groups that operate as socially normative groups. Thus identity politics have been successful in not only gaining political rights for members of identity groups and changing attitudes toward these groups, but also in associating language reform with social and political reform. Identity politics have also, however, been criticized for prioritizing assimilation over significant valorization and acceptance of these groups' differences and of how difference also operates within them. This paper will analyze how queering the concept of inclusive language addresses these problems.

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Apr 2nd, 2:00 PM Apr 2nd, 3:15 PM

Queering Inclusive Language

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

The concept of inclusive language has been mobilized by multiple theorists and identity groups, in hopes that language reform will help foster change for greater social justice. All efforts for language reform have met with considerable resistance. The few that have succeeded, like the Civil Rights movement's replacement of negro with black and African American, the feminist movement's replacement of titles indicating a woman's relationship to a man with Ms., or the various queer and transgender movements' expansion of Gay and Lesbian into LGBT, or even LGBTQIA, and queer, have all been supported by major movements for social reform operating in times of great social upheaval. Subordinate groups have coined umbrella terms for the majority of their members that positively connote them in their difference from the groups that operate as socially normative groups. Thus identity politics have been successful in not only gaining political rights for members of identity groups and changing attitudes toward these groups, but also in associating language reform with social and political reform. Identity politics have also, however, been criticized for prioritizing assimilation over significant valorization and acceptance of these groups' differences and of how difference also operates within them. This paper will analyze how queering the concept of inclusive language addresses these problems.