How does water talk, and other hopeful questions about and beyond gender and language


  • Bonnie S. McElhinny Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto



hope, water, publication, Great Lakes


The inaugural issue of Gender and Language focused on unanswered questions and unquestioned assumptions. This essay revisits these questions, thinking about next steps not only for the field, but also for the larger feminist, anti-racist, anticolonial world our work aims to build. In particular, I consider two questions with impacts for thinking about how to deepen the political impact of our own work, in the realms of social and environmental justice. First, how can we ensure the kind of work we are publishing in this journal has an impact beyond university conversations? Second, have we gone far enough, as a field, in reconsidering not just questions of gender and of language, but also of what we imagine as persons?

Author Biography

Bonnie S. McElhinny, Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto

Bonnie S. McElhinny is Principal of New College at the University of Toronto, and Professor of Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies. She is founding coeditor of Gender and Language. Her most recent book is Language, Capitalism, Colonialism: Toward a Critical History (with Monica Heller, University of Toronto Press, 2017). She lives in Toronto, on niigaani-gichigami, also known as Lake Ontario.


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How to Cite

McElhinny, B. S. (2021). How does water talk, and other hopeful questions about and beyond gender and language. Gender and Language, 15(4), 527–537.



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