In this inaugural lecture, Prof Helen Sauntson explores some of the ways in which language and linguistic analysis is central to the project of social justice with a focus on LGBT+ perspectives. To do so, Helen draws on recent research on language and sexuality in schools and, the discursive construction of in/equalities in higher education contexts. Particular attention is paid to how silence can operate as a speech act which functions to marginalise and oppress LGBT+ (and other) identities in educational contexts. Linking to the ‘peace, reconciliation and activism’ theme of 2019 LGBT History Month, the lecture examines how and why there have been (and continue to be) peculiarly marked discursive silences around ‘love’, and other effectual processes, in relation to LGBT+ social justice research.
Helen proposes that one way to contribute to a discursive shift towards greater social justice is to offer up linguistic alternatives which foreground love, ethics, humanitarianism and justice and, in so doing, construct new discursive realities not only for LGBT+ communities and allies but also for those who continue to oppose them. She exemplifies how this may be achieved by drawing from work in applied linguistics, including new and emerging sub-fields of applied linguistics which incorporate creative, cultural and performing arts. Finally, there is a consideration of how the lessons learnt from LGBT+ perspectives on language, love and in/equalities may inform wider social justice research not just in applied linguistics, but across disciplines.
17:50 Doors Open
18:00 Lecture Commences
19:15 Post Lecture Drinks Reception (all lecture attendees are welcome)