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Extract from The Linguists: Suzette Haden Elgin/Luce Irigaray, talk with slides, 20 minutes, 2017 

The desire for new stories, for different ways of speaking and being together informs the work of both Elgin and Irigaray, who asks: ‘If we keep on speaking the same language together, we’re going to reproduce the same history. Begin the same stories again.  Don’t you think so?’ (1977/1985, 205)  With her Láadan experiment, Elgin offers a quite literal response to this appeal.

This paper explores the influence of Luce Irigaray’s early work on American linguist and science fiction writer Suzette Haden Elgin – most specifically, on Elgin’s experiment with the constructed ‘women’s language’ Láadan.  Taking fanfiction as a model,  the slash in the title between their names designates my desire to bring these two together.   A passing reference to Irigaray in an article by Elgin is elaborated to activate an imaginative space of encounter between two very different writers, which allows for their language work to be thought differently.

Extracts from The Linguists: Suzette Haden Elgin/Luce Irigaray, talk with slides, 20 minutes, 2017

Following the fannish structure known as '5 Things' or '4+1', this paper offers thoughts concerning four ways the work of Suzette Haden Elgin touches on the work of Luce Irigaray, and, finally, one way in which my own practice draws influence from this pairing – ending with a screening of The Linguists (2017). 

This paper was originally created for  A Sharing of Speech, the 8th conference of the Irigaray Circle, held at University of Winchester in 2017.


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