25th FOCUS Graduate Student Conference: Speaking Identity – Identity in Second Language Studies (Hybrid)

Mareike Lange's picture
Call for Papers
October 15, 2021 to October 16, 2021
Ohio, United States
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Humanities, Languages, Linguistics, Teaching and Learning

Call for Papers and Projects

25th Annual FOCUS Graduate Student Conference at the University of Cincinnati

Department of German Studies

October 15. – 16., 2021

Speaking Identity – Identity in Second Language Studies

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Christine Mallinson; University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The concept of “identity” in its poststructural notion as a social process as opposed to a determined product is frequently employed and currently renegotiated in the humanities as well as in education and applied linguistics, often in contradictory manners. The conceptualization of identity in applied linguistics sparks fundamental disagreements around the term ‘identity’ itself, including debates about whether or not it is even appropriate as a blanket term. Nevertheless, identities, whether self- or otherwise ascribed, have created new challenges for language teaching, calling into question previously presumed notions of the ‘native/non-native speaker’ divide, ‘bilingualism’, and ‘first’ and ‘second language’. Within this larger discourse, the effects of identity inscriptions on Second Language pedagogy needs further explorations. How, for example, do we teach genderneutral language for languages in which standardized options do not yet exist? Similarly, how do we teach certain linguistic forms (e.g. word order in German subordinate clauses or “double negatives” in English) associated with linguistic discrimination without replicating and reinforcing this linguistic discrimination?

The 25th Annual FOCUS Graduate Student Conference pursues to address the effects of the muddled terrain of poststructuralist linguistic identities on Second Language pedagogy. We seek to foster a dialogue between sociolinguistic theory and language teaching/learning realities.

Themes may include but are not limited to:

  • Social and regional origin, gender, religion, generation, social groups, migration, multilingualism, and language change and their influence on language, etc.
  • Heterogeneity vs. homogeneity in the classroom
  • Subjective factors of language attitudes and language ideologies
  • Intersections between language and critical race theory, e.g. raciolinguistics, linguistic profiling
  • Queer theory and queer linguistics
  • Influences of sociolinguistics on education and language pedagogy
  • Critical approaches to teaching with technology
  • Varieties of language – Youth language; computer-mediated communication; spoken colloquial language
  • Problematic aspects of contemporary applied linguistics research in which identity is a key construct

Whereas we are anticipating and encouraging academic discussion fostered by conventional conference presentations, we would also like to encourage students to present creative works that fit the overall frame of the conference (e.g. concept-grounded artistic approaches to pedagogy). We encourage submissions from all Germanic fields (i.e. Germanic languages and all Germanic dialects and varieties, including but not limited to English, German, Dutch, Yiddish, and Scandinavian languages) but also welcome contributions from other disciplines. Submissions in German or English are welcome. Current Graduate Students are invited to submit abstracts or project descriptions (250-300 words in length), accompanied by a short bio, to Mareike Lange and Barbara Besendorfer at UCGerman@uc.edu by May 15th, 2021. Please use the subject “Focus 25”.

Given the ongoing uncertainties, we will offer a hybrid model (Zoom or in person) for the conference. We would like to ask you to please indicate whether you preliminarily plan to attend in-person.

Contact Info: 

Mareike Lange and Barbara Besendorfer at UCGerman@uc.edu

Contact Email: