Nora Madison ’02, Adjunct Professor of Arcadia Online, presented a paper on “The articulation of bisexual identities in new mediascapes: Negotiating (in)visibility online” at the 19th American University Conference on Lavender Languages and Linguistics, held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 10-12. The Lavender Languages conference is the longest running LGBTQ studies conference in the U.S.
The subject matter Madison presented is the central focus of her dissertation in the Communication, Culture & Media program at Drexel University. She endeavors to contribute to a growing understanding of the relationship of new mediascapes with processes of subject, subjectivity, and community formation.
Since she graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in women’s studies, she has stayed in contact with revered mentor Dr. Ana Maria Garcia, Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology. Madison and her partner, Dr. Jonathan Church, Associate Professor of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice, have attended the Lavender Languages conference once before. Church thought to bring undergraduate students to attend the 2012 conference, and he and Garcia worked together to bring interested Sociology and Anthropology majors along to learn about sociolinguistics and get a closer look at the life of an academic.
Several members of Arcadia’s faculty, staff, students and alumni were also in attendance, including James Andrews, Khaleb Brooks, Stephanie Ebner, Mary Flood, Sarah Hall, David Rand and Tasha Wirth, as well as Brittany Emswiler, Coordinator of Institutional Relations for The College of Global Studies, and Alison Stefanik, Enrollment Management Fellow.
“We all drove together in a caravan of three cars,” says Madison, who accompanied the group to dinner, engaging students and eliciting further conversation about the ideas that were presented as part of the conference. “It was a really neat idea to bring students along to the conference and it seems to have been really positive and eye-opening experience for everyone.”
A senior Sociology major, Wirth had no previous experience in the study of sociolinguistics. However, after attending the sessions and asking questions, she is now considering a possible graduate program in sociolinguistics to study language and its impact on sexuality and identity formations.
“It was a really enlightening experience,” says Wirth. “I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go. Words are powerful, sometimes we lose sight of that when we're in a safe space. Being out of our comfort zone and listening to topics we may not be comfortable or familiar with opens up our spatial gaze and allows us to become better scholars and people.”