Gender-related research has come a long way since the boom in feminist linguistics of the 1970s. This course will provide an overview of different strands in the field of gender-research and tackle some of the questions which fascinate linguists and laypersons alike. The first part of the syllabus deals with sexism in language and poses questions such as: Is the language sexist or are the people? How effective is political correctness? Selected case studies (e.g. on news reports) will provide insights into potential discrimination via language.

The second part is devoted to the different interactive practices (stereo-)typically ascribed to women and men. Do men and women really use language differently – and if so, when, how and why? In order to deal with these issues, this course will draw on a range of studies (from the early work of Robin Lakoff to postmodernist approaches) and investigate gender-specific language use in various genres.