Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

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Séminaire doctoral - Pratiques langagières - terrains, méthodes, théories
Animé par I. Léglise et V. Muni Toke
Villejuif - Bât.D - S.511 - 14h00-17h00

Tommaso Milani (University of Gothenburg)
Queering multilingualism and politics: Regimes of mobility, citizenship and (in)visibility

In this presentation I investigate the intersections of mobility, sexuality and citizenship, and the role played by multilingualism and multisemioticity in mediating such relationships. In addressing these nexus points, I aim to offer a fresh, queer perspective to the growing scholarship on language and citizenship, an important body of work that has nonetheless largely ignored the gendered and sexual facets of the politics of mobility. Conversely,  a tight analytical focus on multilingualism and multisemioticity could constitute an new analytical contribution to the budding field of queer migration (e.g. Lubheid and Cantù 2005), an interdisciplinary enterprise that has however paid relatively “little attention […] to the border-zones of linguistic and sexual contact, and the attendant struggles for meaning and belonging that are produced through this contact” (Murray 2014: 3; see however Cashman (2015) for a notable exception).
I begin with a discussion of the concept of citizenship, and how it has been employed in recent sociolinguistic scholarship. In reviewing existing literature, I highlight the heuristic potential of the notion of belonging as a broad conceptual umbrella that encapsulates the relationships between mobility, sexuality and the domain of the affective. I then move on to offer a concrete example of the ways in which sexuality, multilingualism and mobility intersect in a recent documentary about a group of Palestinian gay men who leave the Occupied Territories. The presentation ends with a discussion of the double-bind inherent in a liberal politics of citizenship that dispenses rights and recognition on the basis of (self-)ascription  to pre-determined sexual identity categories.