22 Mar 2024 - 23 Mar 2024 All day Senior Parlour, Old Courts, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge



Stephen Matthew Turton (English, University of Cambridge)


  • François·e Charmaille (English and MMLL (French), University of Cambridge)
  • Alexandra Zhirnova (ASNC, University of Cambridge)
  • Orsolya Petocz, MMLL (Italian, University of Cambridge)


It has been 30 years since Carla Freccero (1994) coined ‘queer philology’, but it is in the last decade that the term has reached its widest circulation – in works of linguistics, codicology, literary criticism, and cultural studies, covering texts that range from the medieval (Magnani and Watt 2018) through the early modern (Masten 2016) to the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries (Nicolazzo 2014; Turton 2022; Snediker 2015). Concurrently, queer philology has been joined by a number of related analytical lenses that have been trained on particular languages, times, and places: a ‘trans philology’ of early modern England (Gamble 2019), an ‘erotic philology’ of the Spanish Golden Age (Martín 2008), and an ‘eroto-philology’ of early twentieth-century Yiddish (Weiman-Kelman 2019).

‘Queer & Trans philologies’ is a two-day hybrid conference that seeks to give a platform to this unruly family of philologies by bringing together researchers working across disciplines on the historical ties between language, sexuality, and embodiment. The conference invites historically inflected research that builds on and broadens the linguistic and geographical scope of queer and trans philologies, that attends to the present afterlives of past taxonomies (Amin 2023), or that places trans and queer heuristics in dialogue with other modes of understanding language/sexuality/embodiment from feminist, critical race, and postcolonial studies – whether under the rubric of vocabularies of feeling (Spillers 1984), seductive sapphistry (Marcus 1987), nonce taxonomy (Sedgwick 1990), ephemeral archives (Muñoz 1996), histories of use (Ahmed 2019), or queer historical linguistics (Leap 2020).

The call for papers is now open.

If you have specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.

Supported by:

LGBTQ+ flag with the word CRASSH written at the bottom Gonvilla & Caius College logo


Call for papers

We invite 15-minute papers on:

  • Historical vocabularies of sex/gender/sexuality
  • Studies of erotic/somatic wordplay, neologism, and other forms of linguistic creativity in literary and non-literary texts
  • Trans/queer readings of grammars, dictionaries, manuals of rhetoric, and other reference works
  • Analyses of the discursive entanglement of sexed bodies/sexual behaviours with race, class, ability, and/or neurodiversity

The language of presentation is English, but we encourage research on all languages.

Please submit abstracts (150–300 words) to queertransphilologies@gmail.com, along with your name, institution (if any), and paper title. Please indicate whether you would be able to present in person or virtually.

The deadline for submissions is 31 October 2023.


Ahmed, Sara. (2019). What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Amin, Kadji. (2023). Taxonomically Queer? Sexology and New Queer, Trans, and Asexual Identities. GLQ, 29(1), 92–107.

Freccero, Carla. (1994). Practicing Queer Philology with Marguerite de Navarre: Nationalism and the Castigation of Desire. In Jonathan Goldberg (Ed.), Queering the Renaissance (pp. 107–23). Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Gamble, Joseph. (2019). Towards a Trans Philology. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 19(4), 26–44.

Leap, William L. (2020). Language before Stonewall: Language, Sexuality, History. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Marcus, Jane. (1987). Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Magnani, Roberta, and Watt, Diane. (2018). Towards a Queer Philology. postmedieval, 9(3), 252–68.

Martín, Adrienne Laskier. (2008). An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Masten, Jeffrey. (2016). Queer Philologies: Sex, Language, and Affect in Shakespeare’s Time. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Muñoz, J. E. (1996). Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts. Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 8(2), 5–16.

Nicolazzo, [Sal]. (2014). Reading Clarissa’s ‘Conditional Liking’: A Queer Philology. Modern Philology, 112(1), 205–25.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. (1990). Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Snediker, Michael D. (2015). Queer Philology and Chronic Pain: Bersani, Melville, Blanchot. Qui Parle, 23(2), 1–27.

Spillers, Hortense J. (1984). Interstices: A Small Drama of Words. In Carole S. Vance (Ed.), Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (pp. 73–100). Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Turton, Stephen. (2022). The Lexicographical Lesbian: Remaking the Body in Anne Lister’s Erotic Glossary. The Review of English Studies, 73(310), 537–51.

Weiman-Kelman, Zohar. (2019). Eroto-philology: Sex, Language, and Yiddish History. Orbis Litterarum, 74, 58–69.

Upcoming Events

Nine dots prize winner Joanna Kusiak
Closed Event, Seminar
Nine dots prize winner Joanna Kusiak
Closed Event, Seminar
Nine dots prize winner Joanna Kusiak
Closed Event, Seminar
Nine dots prize winner Joanna Kusiak
Closed Event, Seminar
Nine dots prize winner Joanna Kusiak
Closed Event, Seminar
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Hackathon, Workshop
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29 Nov 2023

Planetary health

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Conference, Hybrid Event

22 Mar 2024 - 23 Mar 2024

Queer & Trans philologies


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk