Thirty-year retrospective on language, gender and sexuality research
Special focus: Intersectionality
Keywords:Intersectionality, language, gender and sexuality research
This thirty-year retrospective on language, gender and sexuality research, launched in anticipation of the thirtieth anniversary of the 1992 Berkeley Women and Language Conference, showcases essays by luminaries who presented papers at the conference as well as allied scholars who have taken the field in new directions. Revitalising a tradition set out by the First Berkeley Women and Language Conference in 1985, the four biennial Berkeley conferences held in the 1990s led to the establishment of the International Gender and Language Association and subsequently of the journal Gender and Language, contributing to the field’s institutionalisation and its current panglobal character. Retrospective essays addressing the themes of Politics, Practice, Intersectionality and Place will be published across four issues of the journal in 2021. In this third issue on the theme of intersectionality, Mel Y. Chen revisits the melancholy they experienced in their training as a linguist pursuing transdisciplinarity in the 1990s to highlight the broader role played by affective politics in scholarship, while Michèle Foster narrates key incidents in her life that shaped her work giving voice to Black women’s linguistic knowledge and practices. Mary Bucholtz and deandre miles-hercules, Lal Zimman and Susan Ehrlich offer incisive critiques of the field’s limits, drawing on their own positionalities to move the study of language, gender and sexuality beyond its whiteness and cis-centredness. Tommaso M. Milani thinks through the affective loading of the term ‘queer’ to set out the importance of anger and discomfort in building broader, intersectional alliances in the struggle for social justice. The theme series also pays tribute to significant scholars present at the 1992 Berkeley conference who are no longer with us; in this issue, María Dolores Gonzales offers a moving personal account of the life, work and activism of Chicana sociolinguist D. Letticia Galindo.