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WELCOME TO LAGESEC 2013!
LAGESEC 2013 is an interdisciplinary summer school focusing on language, gender, and sexuality and its multifarious implications for citizenship in a geopolitical area that has attracted a lot of attention over the last two decades. It brings together scholars from a variety of fields in the humanities and the social sciences in an attempt to enhance dialogue among researchers in linguistics, gender/sexuality studies, and Balkan studies.
As research on sexuality evolves and complements research on gender, citizenship has emerged as a pivotal issue. Research on language and gender and on language and sexuality has come to eventually focus on rights and obligations, and especially on the evaluative character of membership in a nation state (and, thus, the potentially precarious status of some citizens).
At a time of generalized crisis in the Western world, the Balkan Peninsula struggles to come to grips with a situation in which
a. the far South is targeted as a financial delinquent,
b. the North is still struggling with post-socialist reality,
c. (part of) the East is imbricated in an “identity crisis” over joining or non-joining the EU, over religious and cultural grounds,
d. and the West, customarily coinciding with ex-Yugoslavia, is struggling with all of the above, in the aftermath of wars that left deep scars in societies where structures were significantly more sophisticated than is commonly acknowledged.
Meanwhile, the Balkans, as a geopolitical area, continue to be a safe haven for the gendered and sexual polarities (and therefore, exclusions) that have traditionally underpinned Western respectability. This brand of respectability is a prerequisite for (non-precarious) citizenship and is effortlessly bestowed on gender/sex norm-upholders-cum-progeny while denied most others. Indeed, this is the brand of respectability imposed on heteros, homos, and trans people –albeit in different ways– to the extent that it is a prominent ingredient of the national narrative; the national narrative which seeks to reconfirm a view of one’s gender (usually qua genitals) as commensurate with one’s sexuality (usually qua a prerequisite for progeny); the national narrative which, while being all but identical in every corner of the Balkan Peninsula, lays claims to originality, exclusivity, and –crucially– timelessness.
“Language, gender, and sexuality: Discourses of precarious citizenship in precarious times – the Balkan experience” encompasses all of the above, as the national narratives produced in the Balkans (and elsewhere) are simultaneously gendered, sexed, and ethnic as well as linguistic. Peculiar though it may seem at first sight, national narratives use language to talk about the nation as an ethnic and linguistic, but also as a gendered and sexed entity. Current research in the humanities and the social sciences increasingly investigates the multiple, and highly entrenched, indexical relations holding among these areas which are, in principle, distinct. It is these indexical relations which inform LAGESEC 2013.
LAGESEC 2013 will take place in Eressos (on the island of Lesvos) between 1 and 14 July 2013. This site is regularly updated.
Artwork on webpage by Artemis Alcalay
The “University of the Aegean Summer Schools” are supported by the project «The University of the Aegean, the prominent and driving factor for the economic and social growth of the wide Aegean area» of the Operational Programme “Education and Lifelong Learning”, which is co-funded by European Union (European Social Fund) and National Resources.