CfC The Multilingual Issue

The Multilingual Issue: untranslatability, linguistic multitudes, embodied speech

Call for Contributions (offen für abstracts bis 30.11.22) von Antke A. Engel und Anna T.

für InterAlia: A Journal for Queer Studies

Logo InterAlia: A Journal of Queer Studies


English has become the de facto lingua franca in the academic world and it often dominates both scholarly and activist discourse around LGBTQIA+ issues (at least as they are discussed in the Western/Northern hemispheres). We want to use English while simultaneously activating other languages and registers to expand the discussion on issues of (a)sexualities and (a)genders in their constant interplay with dimensions of class, caste, race, dis_ability, neurodiversity, technology , and others we are not aware of or don’t yet have words available to think about. The different historical and geopolitical ways in which power and knowledge intertwine, as well as processes of un_learning from and with one another are meant to be a thread woven through the issue and its production. So we call on people who write in one language, in two, in several, or who code-switch, those who speak/write in mixed formats (e.g. Spanglish, Englabic, Greeklish) to share their work with us reflecting on language, desire, and relating. If we receive a text in languages we (the co-editors and the editorial board) are not familiar with we will try finding someone who does to help us with the peer- review process.

We do not wish to make transparent elements that wish to remain opaque and so we do not aim for a translational relation but to be in conversation while respecting and accepting un- and mis- understandability, as well as the potential for understandability through elements beyond a lingua franca. We wish to embrace opacities, ambiguities and impossibilities and do not hope for translatability. We are excited to put together an issue that will uncover the potential of untranslatability, inconsistent translation, or translations that remain unfinished.

There is no language beyond embodiment. However, the question of how language and body belong together is open, open-ended, and controversial. This includes the dimension of technology, which might or might not be seen as an inherent part of embodiment: No_body without technology, though also no technology that doesn’t form a body. Organic, inorganic, digital, virtual, mental, psychic, affective, imaginary embodiments of language. How do these influence understandings of media, mediality, and mediatedness?

We invite activists, artists, thinkers, and any combination thereof, to contribute works that explore ideas of language(s) as these are employed by sexual and gender minorities. We invite peer reviewers to express their wish to offer reflections to the submitted contributions. We want to specifically open up a space for people from the Periphery to share their experiences related to language(s) in whichever format feels appropriate and comfortable. Yet, we also find it useful to remind each other that also in the centers people share space (cohabitate or collaborate) who grew up with and into very different first and further languages and dialects, a fact that is often forgotten, when English or a local dominant language monopolizes the exchange. Thus, we ask, how do people already create situations, where multilinguality is practiced?

We use the term “queer” as a symbol of an important gesture of resemanticisation/resignification but we also understand it as a reductive shorthand and wish to include works that instead, or parallel to it, use terms such as quia, kvir, cuír, πλακωμουνού, takatāpui and any and all precolonial, postcolonial, and decolonial identifiers that make sense to you. We want this issue to be open to different—even contradictory—positions and we see this as an interesting ground to explore multitudes in terms of language, desire, and off-kilter embodied and oral pleasures.

We want this issue to be organised around ideas of multitudes and collectivity and as such we plan for a review system that longs to bring together contributors of the issue in the process of production, commenting on drafts or sketches. We could also imagine organizing conversations, or a workshop exploring modes and methods of dehierarchizing multilingual exchange. For us, the question of multilinguality is related to, interfering with, potentially profiting from queer pedagogy and epistemology. We explicitly wish to encourage these connections.

Peer-review is a standard in academic journals. We would like to focus on the term “peer” and treat such input/reflections/suggestions as important to the evolution of a contribution. We want to keep in mind that the reviewer is not an all-knowing authority and that due to the multiple languages, in which certain contributions will be written, the reviewers might have access to only parts of it. This “unfinished” process will hopefully activate the emotive and affective and go beyond a one-way- process of advising.

Potential Questions

What are the languages of the sexual? Is “the sexual” the same as sexuality, or not? What about pleasures and desires?

Which languages, dialects, registers, or codes do you use to communicate issues related to pleasures, desires, and communities?

What does it mean when one’s first language is shadowed by another acquired later on? What is the impact on the person and their communities?

How does language affect your sense of identity and belonging and what is the role of visibilities and opacities in that?

What is a name? What is the importance of naming, being named, and self-naming?

How do you experience the interaction of language, embodiment, and technology in sexual minorities?

What linguistic or poetic tools can we create/employ for empowering ourselves taking into account dis_abilities and sexual minorities or encounters? What comes after reclaiming?

In which language/s does your queerness exist and how do you communicate it?

How do you envision queer theory’s future if you use epistemological and methodological tools from your cultural/linguistic context?

How do language, spirituality, and queerness interact? What happens in their intersection?


September – November 2022: open call
December 2022: sharing the concept of the issue with all contributors
Mid December – Mid March 2023: main production time
Mid March – Mid October 2023: review processes
Mid October – End November 2023: final revisions by contributors
End of 2023: publication

Please submit your abstracts by Nov 30, 2022 via the submission page:

We are looking forward to hearing from you!