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Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality

Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Across scholarship on gender and sexuality, binaries like female versus male and gay versus straight have been problematized as a symbol of the stigmatization and erasure of non-normative subjects and practices. The chapters in Queer Excursions offer a series of distinct perspectives on these binaries, as well as on a number of other, less immediately apparent dichotomies that nevertheless permeate the gendered and sexual lives of speakers. Several chapters focus on the limiting or misleading qualities of binaristic analyses, while others suggest that binaries are a crucial component of social meaning within particular communities of study. Rather than simply accepting binary structures as inevitable, or discarding them from our analyses entirely based on their oppressive or reductionary qualities, this volume advocates for a re-theorization of the binary that affords more complex and contextually-grounded engagement with speakers' own orientations to dichotomous systems.

It is from this perspective that contributors identify a number of diverging conceptualizations of binaries, including those that are non-mutually exclusive, those that liberate in the same moment that they constrain, those that are imposed implicitly by researchers, and those that re-contextualize familiar divisions with innovative meanings. Each chapter offers a unique perspective on locally salient linguistic practices that help constitute gender and sexuality in marginalized communities. As a collection, Queer Excursions argues that researchers must be careful to avoid the assumption that our own preconceptions about binary social structures will be shared by the communities we study.

Lal Zimman is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Reed College. His research, which brings together ethnographic, sociophonetic, and discourse analytic frameworks, deals with the relationship between gender, sexuality, and embodiment in the linguistic practices of transgender and LGBQ communities. Jenny L. Davis is a Lyman T. Johnson Post-doctoral Fellow in Linguistics at the University of Kentucky. Her research analyzes the intersections of language, ethnicity, and identity, with foci on indigenous language use and the sociocultural dynamics of language revitalization. Joshua Raclaw is a Post-doctoral Researcher in the Center for Women's Health Research and Honorary Fellow in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on conversation analysis and sociolinguistic analyses of language, gender, and sexuality in the United States.

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