VocUM 2018 – Language and gender: communicating plurality

  • We are pleased to announce the 5th edition of VocUM, which will take place at the Carrefour des arts et des sciences of the Université de Montréal (Québec, Canada) on November 22nd and 23rd, 2018. VocUM is an annual international conference organized by students of the Université de Montréal, all from different fields of study relating to language. It is the only multidisciplinary conference dedicated to language in Montréal.

    Language influences the mental representations we have regarding gender: it can convey power imbalances and encourage discrimination or, conversely, be a springboard to designify gender and to build an inclusive discourse that showcases plurality. In the last decades, social advocacy relating to diversity and de/reconstruction of gender has had an impact on current linguistic practices, namely by giving rise to neologisms and linguistic or graphic innovations that go beyond the gender binary. Gender-equal communication, neutral pronouns in some languages (e.g. Swedish), gender-inclusive language, which avoids referencing gender, or on the other hand insistence on “feminization” of language are among some of the strategies used to elude linguistic sexism and to rethink the implications of our linguistic practices. If language is political, how can it be made to reflect the subtleties of the gender spectrum? How, also, can the criteria that define gender – grammatical gender, (socially) constructed gender, etc. – be established? What links can be drawn between grammatical gender, gender identity, and biological sex? How can different types of language (body language, cinematographic language, literary language, computer languages, mathematical language, etc.) (de)construct gender? The 5th edition of this conference will give us the opportunity to explore these questions and to suggest avenues of thought relative to them.



    Important dates

    Conference: November 22nd and 23rd, 2018

    For more information: info@vocum.ca