"Inclusivity in Romance Languages" Dr. Michela Russo

Michela Russo
Event Date & Time
| -
Event Location
120 Pillsbury Hall

310 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Language is neither neutral nor impartial, especially when we consider gender. Inclusivity can be understood as the drive to extend rights and participation in a system or activity to as many subjects as possible. Communicating in an inclusive way, therefore, embraces different spheres of our social life, including gender and sexual orientation, ethnicity and race, age, ability status, religion, and socio-economic conditions. From a linguistic standpoint, the Romance languages present various grammatical obstacles that make them particularly rigid in the face of a more inclusive use of language, not declined nor defined by gender. Language textbooks, classroom practices, and activities often conflate binary grammatical gender (e.g., “masculine” or
“feminine”) with the gender identity of speakers, thus excluding the place of non-binary and gender-diverse people, who should not be forced to adhere to the normative exclusionary logic of binary grammatical systems.

In her hybrid presentation, Dr Michela Russo will highlight the work of the Gender Diversity Committee at the University of Michigan, which was funded in 2019 with the objective of breaking down linguistic and cultural barriers to more inclusive practices of language teaching. Responding to Kris Kinsey’s call for “gender-just language pedagogies” or “gender justice in the language classroom,” for the GDC it has been a matter of re-imagining research, materials, and pedagogies of language education to make the language classroom welcoming to non-binary students and gender-diverse people. Following the hybrid presentation, Dr Russo will run an in-person workshop during which she will share gender-inclusive activities that target the five outcomes established for undergraduate language curricula: listening, reading, speaking, writing, and cultural reflectivity. The workshop will take place from 3:30-5:00 pm in Liberal Arts Engagement Hub, 120 Pillsbury Hall. Attendance at the presentation is not required to attend the workshop; however, the workshop is limited to 40 participants and pre-registration is required.

The talk section of this event will be presented both in person and over zoom. The workshop section is in person only.

Register for the Zoom link here: https://umn.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcqceuppzIuHdw2bw6ytiCH-acNbT9q3Yd3

Register for the workshop here:   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfEcK63maOuaoivRmSBE0Gv4BCgx2niCeAMZ_ymnZfFywNpFA/viewform

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, and the Center for Gender and Sexuality for Queer and Trans Life.  

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