Proseminar "The Gender(s) of English"
Di 14-16 Uhr
C 5 3, Raum 4.08
In this proseminar, we will analyze a variety of different but intertwined aspects of gender in the English language. In our analysis, we will distinguish between grammatical, lexical, referential, and social gender. Briefly looking at the loss of grammatical gender in English, we will discover that the lack of grammatical gender in a language does not mean that “gender” in the broader sense cannot be communicated. We will examine the ways in which gender can be expressed in English today and investigate how pronominalization is used as a powerful strategy of communicating gender. Our analysis will also focus on nouns that are, in contrast to the great majority of human nouns in English, formally marked for lexical gender, and we will analyze how this gender marking morphologically takes place. We will discuss cases in which this gender marking leads to semantic derogation. Gendered and non-gendered forms of address and their usage are also part of our analysis. We will deal with false generics as well as with gender-related structures and messages, analyzing areas of implicit discursive negotiation of gender such as metaphors and proverbs. Furthermore, we will search for possibilities of expressing non-binary genders in English and also for ways of excluding gender from language, i.e. of formulating in gender-neutral ways. We will conclude by working our way towards a gender-fair use of language.
Course requirements: Regular attendance, active participation, oral presentation, graded term paper.
For detailed course requirements please consult the respective module descriptions.