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Urszula Chowaniec & Shaun Foley: A Comparative Discussion

Ula (Urszula) Chowaniec, PhD
Ula Chowaniec is a Professor at the Andrzej Frycz-Modrzewski Cracow University in Poland. She lives in Stockholm and lectures on Jewish Women's Literature at the Paideia Folkhogskola. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She is an author of the monograph Melancholic Migrating Bodies in Contemporary Women's Writing (2015) and a monograph on the novels of Irena Krzywicka, a Jewish feminst in the 1930s, titled W poszukiwaniu Kobiety: O wczesnych powieściach Ireny Krzywickiej (In Search of a Woman: Early Novels of Irena Krzywicka, Kraków, 2007). She is currently working on a monograph concerning the poetry of Irena Klepfisz, as her research concentrates on Jewish history and Jewish identity in women writing and contemporary lesbian writing. Her academic website including her professional profile can be found at:

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Shaun Foley, Wolfson Quirk Scholar in the Humanities at UCL

Shaun Foley completed his BA in Bulgarian and Romanian Studies at UCL SSEES and is now a UCL Wolfson Quirk Scholar in the Humanities. His research focuses on the intersection between language and identity among the Bulgarian and Ukrainina minorities in Romania. The main research questions are how do minorities preserve their own identities in the face of national language or assimilation policies that are often seen as restrictive or oppressive and how these minorities respond to these policies by looking at key areas, such as language use, education provision, self-perception and cultural preservation and production. His research interests also include sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, language pedagogy, representations of LGBTQ+ in Eastern Europe and of the 'other' as well as literary translation. He is also an award-winning translator.


Title and Abstract of Conference Discussion

Power Relations in Language: On Queering Language in the Polish vs. English Contexts. A Comparative Discussion.

Queering language aims to discuss the development of queer-sensitive language changes in a comparative overview of the Polish and English contexts and presenting selected examples of dealing with the inclusiveness in language and increasing the flexibility of usually very binary lexical, grammatical and syntactical structures. In a dialogue Ula and Shaun discuss when speech became the subject of gendered analysis in Poland and the UK, as well as what the social and cultural contexts are that ensure the politics of gender mainstreaming in these languages. At the core of their discussion lie issues such as linguistic sexism and the ways in which it can be eradicated, gender-neutral pronouns and feminitives, as well as the state's linguistic policies of emancipation and the development of queer linguistic discourses.