UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Spotting Power-Relations in the Sentence: On Queering Language in the Polish vs English Contexts

20 February 2023, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

An illustration of a mouth and tongue with LGBT colours

A PROLang seminar with Ula (Urszula) Chowaniec (Andrzej Frycz-Modrzewski Cracow University) and Shaun Foley (UCL). Online event.

This event is free.

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Queering language… aims to discuss the development of queer-sensitive language changes in a comparative overview of the Polish and English contexts.
During the event, we will ask: when did speech become the subject of gendered analysis in Poland and the UK? What are the social and cultural contexts that ensure the politics of gender mainstreaming in these languages? 

Also, at the core of our discussion are issues such as linguistic sexism and the ways in which it can be eradicated, gender-neutral pronouns and feminitives, as well as the state's linguistic policies of emancipation and the development of queer linguistic discourses.

The talk will be followed by open discussion and a Q+A session.

Join us this LGBT history month to discuss all this and more.


Ula (Urszula) Chowaniec, PhD., is a Professor at the Andrzej Frycz-Modrzewski Cracow University in Poland. She lives in Stockholm and lectures on Jewish Women’s Literature at the Paideia Folkhögskola. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She worked at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies between 2011 and 2019 and also studied at UCL. She is an author of a monograph Melancholic Migrating Bodies in Contemporary Women’s Writing (2015) and a monograph on the novels of Irena Krzywicka, a Jewish feminist in the 1930s W poszukiwaniu Kobiety: O wczesnych powieściach Ireny Krzywickiej (In Search of a Woman: Early Novels of Irena Krzywicka, Kraków 2007). Currently, she is working on the monograph on the poetry of Irena Klepfisz, as her research concentrates on Jewish history and Jewish identity in women writing and contemporary lesbian’s writing (https://jewishwomenswriting.weebly.com). Academic website, including the professional profile: https://cudzoziemki.weebly.com

Shaun Foley, Wolfson Quirk Scholar in the Humanities at UCL

Shaun Foley completed his BA in Bulgarian and Romanian Studies at UCL SSEES and is now a UCL Wolfson Quirk Scholar in the Humanities.

His research focuses on the intersection between language and identity among the Bulgarian and Ukrainian minorities in Romania. The main research questions are how do minorities preserve their own identities in the face of national language or assimilation policies that are often seen as restrictive or oppressive and how these minorities respond to these policies by looking at key areas, such as language use, education provision, self-perception and cultural preservation and production?

His research interests also include sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, language pedagogy, representations of LGBTQ+ in Eastern Europe and of the ‘other’ as well as literary translation.

He is also an award-winning translator.

Illustration: Shaun Foley