Call for Papers: They, Hirself, Em, and You: Nonbinary pronouns in research and practice, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, June 11-13 2019

They, Hirself, Xem, and You (THEY) is a three-day conference bringing together linguists and other researchers and practitioners working on topics relating to nonbinary pronouns in English. The conference will be held at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, June 11-13 2019. The goal of this conference is to bring together researchers working on topics relating to nonbinary gender (usage, users, and user experiences) in language, particularly in pronouns, in order to both raise the profile of this research within linguistics and other disciplines, and to build resources that can be used by educators, policy makers, community advocates, and researchers in other fields. Admission to the conference will be free.

It will include two interleaved tracks of talks and presentations: one featuring research from linguistics (L-track), and one featuring scholars and practitioners from other fields (O-track). There will also be a series of four invited keynote talks, open to the public, and one of the conference outputs will be a resource compiling information and resources on nonbinary pronouns, for general use. Please see the conference website for more information.

L-track proposals are due March 31, 2019.

O-track proposals are due April 30, 2019.

A downloadable Call for Papers can be found here.

 

Mandela clan backs renaming of Cape Town airport

The Royal House of Mandela has thrown its weight behind renaming Cape Town International Airport after Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. At Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral in Soweto last year, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (a far-left South African political party) Julius Malema made the first call for the name change, having said that if the African National Congress (governing party) was serious about honouring maWinnie and her legacy, it should name the Mother City’s airport after her.

Political parties disagreed in Parliament over the name change of the airport, with the ANC saying all names of Struggle heroes and heroines needed to be considered. The Airports Company South Africa has given the public until June 6, 2019 to submit names for the change. Once the public process is complete, a report of conclusions and recommendations will be compiled. Other names put forward include Struggle icons Albertina Sisulu, Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani, Robert Sobukwe and Alex La Guma.

 

Claiming the History in Family Names

Raffi Joe Wartanian told an amazing story of his family by pointing out their interesting family name. His immigrant father Ghevont Vartanian, who left his hometown, Beirut, in 1974, thought adopting an American name was a prudent measure to avoid mispronunciations. To his son it felt like admitting defeat.

Raffi Joe describes how he cringed whenever his father called himself George. He wanted him to declare his name rather than defer to its otherness. He wanted him to teach people how to pronounce his name and appreciate its Armenian origins. History echoed within his father’s name: Ghevont is a canonized orator; Vartan, an honored warrior. Both served as Armenian leaders in the fifth-century Battle of Avarayr. But the name of George silenced that history.

About Names: Stella’s star is shining bright again

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 12th column, he looks at the history of the name Stella.

Stella is the Latin word for “star.” Its first use as a woman’s name came in 1591 in “Astrophil and Stella,” a book of sonnets and songs by Philip Sidney (1554-86). Astrophil (“star lover”) describes his beloved as “Stella, Star of heavenly fire, Stella, loadstar of desire; Stella, in whose shining eyes are the lights of Cupids skies.”

German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) wrote “Stella: A Play for Lovers” in 1776. It created a huge scandal when hero Fernando resolves his love for both Stella and Cecilia by living in a ménage à trois. Goethe rewrote the play with Stella committing suicide at the end in 1806. Both versions spread the name across northern Europe. By 1770, romantic parents were naming real girls Stella in America. The 1850 United States census, the first listing all residents by name, found 548 Stellas.

In Social Security’s yearly baby name lists, Stella peaked at 55th in 1889. It gradually declined, leaving the top hundred after 1923.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Stellas in history!

Call for Papers: 2019 Geographic Names Conference of COGNA, Baton Rouge, LA, August 5-9 2019

The 2019 Geographic Names Conference of COGNA (Council of Geographic Names Authorities in the United States) will take place August 5-9, 2019, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They are seeking presentation content, geographic names in nature, including regional topics, toponymic and cartographic themes encouraged. Presentations are for individual presentations or panel discussions.

This conference is the only conference that brings together the State Geographic Names Authorities (SNAs) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) and provides participants a unique opportunity to share information and knowledge about the geographic naming process and research. There is no better way to network and benefit from the expertise of members and staff of the BGN, SNAs, Tribal authorities, other State and Federal mapping agencies, and members of the geospatial and academic communities.

The conferences are open to the public for registration fees.  Registration fees included all conference materials, welcome & closing receptions, and admission to all daytime conference sessions.  Conferences conclude with an optional an educational-toponymic field workshop.

You can download the call for papers here. The deadline for abstracts is April 30, 2019.

Additional information on the conference is available at their website.

1st Session of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, April 29 – May 3, 2019, New York

The 2019 Session of the “new” United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) will be convened from 29 April to 3 May 2019 at the UNHQ, in New York.

The session, organized by the United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, brings together over 150 experts from national naming authorities and academia. The 2019 session heralds the first session of the new body, with a new agenda and over 90 papers for information and discussion, covering  topics such as toponymic training, place names supporting sustainable development, toponymic data files and gazetteers, romanization systems, exonyms, geographical names as cultural heritage, and toponymic guidelines for map and other editors for international use.

Cook Islands considers name change

The Cook Islands in the South Pacific is considering a name change to reflect its Polynesian heritage. The nation was named after British explorer James Cook who landed on the islands in the 1700s.

A committee is considering 60 options in Cook Islands Maori including Rangiaroa, meaning Love from the Heavens and Raroatua which translates as We Stand Under God. The updated name should reflect the country’s history, its religious beliefs and its people. A referendum was held in 1994, when voters opted against a name change.

However, the name-change may take a while. There would probably have to be a new referendum and the process could take two years.

Call for papers: Toponymic Session of 49th Poznań Linguistic Meeting, Poland, September 16-18, 2019

 

In this thematic session, linguists, geographers, sociologists, ethnographers and representatives from related disciplines are invited to contribute presentations revolving around the following questions:

(1) What are the new trends in place / street (re-)naming practices? Who are the agents behind these (re-)namings? How do these renamings influence the “ideological robe of the city” ?
(2) How are these changes reported, legitimized and critiqued in the media?
(3) How can various disciplines researching place/street (re-)namings contribute to our understanding of these semiotic changes?

Deadline for abstract submission is March 22, 2019. Abstracts should be submitted via the Poznań Linguistic Meeting (PLM) Easy Chair system.

Female street names wanted in Brussels

The City of Brussels joins the call for more ‘women in the streets’. The inhabitants of Brussels can suggest female heroes who deserve a place in the public space, but they can also propose places, squares and parks that do not yet have a name.

 

The rules are simple:

  • the person may no longer be alive
  • the proposal must be submitted by the City to the Royal Commission for Toponymy and Dialectology

 

 

All proposals are welcome on the:

Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in French)
Facebook page of the City of Brussels (in Dutch)

Call for Papers for the Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, Seattle, WA, January 9-12, 2020

ANS Panel at the Modern Language Association Conference

January 9-12th, 2019 in Seattle, WA

The American Name Society is inviting abstract proposals for a panel with the literary theme “Semantic relations and personal names.” Names have meanings. They bear specific semantic connotations that, albeit forgotten by their users, are exploited by authors to evoke subsequent layers of interpretation. Papers of this panel will explore this practice and investigate how meanings of names are employed and to what ends, with a focus either on specific authors or with a broader scope. Examples of themes that can be addressed may be semantics of names in literary theory, name choices due to semantic connotations, intertextual relations based on the meaning of names, etc.

For more information about MLA 2020, check out the official website.

Proposal submission process:

  1. Abstracts proposals of up to 400 words should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Andreas Gavrielatos (gavrielatos@reading.ac.uk).
  2. Proposals should include “MLA proposal” in the subject line of the email.
  3. All submissions must include an abstract title, the full name(s) of the author(s), the author affiliation, and email address in the body of the email and NOT with the abstract.
  4. DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 5pm GMT on 31 March 2019. Authors will be notified about results of the blind review on or by 03 April 2019.
  5. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers.
  6. For further information, please contact Dr A. Gavrielatos (gavrielatos@reading.ac.uk).

More information about ANS and MLA conferences in available on the Conferences page of this website.