„Tell me how you speak, and I will tell you how you think“ – This is the title of the second Journal Club on the 10th of July, 6 pm, in Glashaus. In this session we want to critically discuss the concept of political correctness.
In defending political correctness feminists assume that language constructs the notion of reality of the speaker, so that the way people speak reflects the way people think. They criticize that expressions like the generic male pronoun “he” (e.g. “A doctor learns that he should do no harm”) encode a sexist perspective and thus reproduce sexist social practices. In this context political correctness is seen as a means to establish a neutral, non-sexist language. By using the female as well as the male pronoun for example, gender-equality in society can be brought forward, according to the idea of political correctness. In the upcoming journal club we want to question this idea based on the text “Feminist meanings and the (de)politicization of the lexicon” from Susan Ehrlich and Ruth King (1994).
In their text Ehrlich and King question the possibility of successful language reform by political correctness. Their idea is that politically correct terms “may lose their neutrality in the mouth of a sexist speech community”, meaning that such terms might be redefined with sexist meanings and thus lose their neutrality. They support their thesis by examining the use of politically correct terms like chairperson. They show that those terms lose their neutral meaning after some time by redefinition in a sexist speech-community.
In the Journal Club, we will discuss this critical approach towards political correctness. First, we will sum up the text together. Then the members of AK Queer will give a short presentation on the text. Finally, we will have a discussion on it. Since political correctness is an important concept for the Queer-movement, we also try to evaluate the argument of the text and see whether it’s worth furthering political correctness. Please don’t hesitate attending the Journal Club, when you didn’t read the text (since there will be a short presentation on it.) The text for the session can be found on the website of the AK Queer (http://queergenderbayreuth.wordpress.com/). We are looking forward to see you on the 10th of July in Glashaus.
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