Dr Cynthia Nelson

BA(English), MA Teaching(ESL), PhD(AppLing)
Honorary Senior Lecturer
+61 2 93512606
A35 / 307
The University of Sydney

Cynthia Nelson is a writer, researcher, and education consultant who has published extensively in applied linguistics. At the University of Technology, Sydney, and The University of Sydney, she designed and led development programs for research students and research supervisors.

She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Language and Sexuality, and is the author of Sexual Identities in English Language Education: Classroom Conversations (Routledge). Her play Queer as a Second Language has been performed in Australia, Japan, the UK and the US. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Newcastle Poetry Prize and is currently completing a memoir.

Cynthia previously held the position of Honorary Associate with SSESW from 2 March 2015 to 1 March 2017, during which she made a valuable contribution, offering customised workshops for research postgraduates on writing research questions and literature reviews. During her current appointment, Cynthia will provide occasional small-group sustained support on academic writing for research students, offering her substantive expertise in this area. She is an active researcher with publications planned for the conferral period that she aims to use this affiliation.

Expert of International Standing Assessor for Discovery Grants, Australian Research Council 
Shortlisted for Australia’s Newcastle Poetry Prize (2011) 
Excellence in Teaching Award (1997), University of Technology, Sydney

  • Member, editorial board, Journal of Language and Sexuality 
  • Manuscript reviewer, Cambridge University Press
  • Article reviewer, Applied Linguistics; Canadian Modern Language Journal; Curriculum Inquiry; Journal of Language, Identity, and Education; TESOL Quarterly
  • Consultant for Kings College London; University of New Hampshire; Charles Sturt University; Temple University Japan; Khon Kaen University (presented academic seminars, gave research-writing workshops, chaired PhD review committee)

  • Nelson, C.D. (2009). Sexual identities in English language education: Classroom conversations. New York: Routledge. 

Edited journal 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2006). Guest editor of the international refereed Journal of Language, Identity, and Education on "Queer inquiry in language education". Vol 5, Issue 1. 

Selected book chapters 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2020). "Queer thinking about language learning: Current research and future directions." In K. Hall & R. Barrett (Eds.) The Oxford handbook of language and sexuality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2017). "The –isms as interpretive prisms: a pedagogically useful concept." In D.J. Rivers and K. Zotzmann (Eds.) Isms in language education: Oppression, intersectionality and emancipation (pp. 15–33). Boston: Routledge. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2017). "Identity dilemmas and research agendas." In G. Barkhuizen (Ed.) Reflections on language teacher identity research (pp. 234-239). New York: Routledge. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2016). "The significance of sexual identity to language learning and teaching." In S. Preece (Ed.) The Routledge handbook of language and identity (pp. 351-365). London: Routledge. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2016). "Cultivating creative teaching via narrative inquiry." In R.H. Jones & J.C. Richards (Eds.) Creativity in language teaching: Perspectives from research and practice (pp. 241-255). New York: Routledge. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2015). "Performed research for public engagement: language and identity studies on stage." In D.N. Djenar, A. Mahboob, & K. Cruickshank (Eds.) Language and identity across modes of communication. Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton. 

Selected journal articles 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2015). "LGBT content: why teachers fear it, why learners like it." Language Issues. 26(1): 6-12. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2013). "Live theatre: Aadynamic medium for engaging with intercultural education research." Intercultural Education. 24(4): 341-347. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2012). "Emerging queer epistemologies in studies of 'gay' - student discourses." Journal of Language and Sexuality, 1(1): 79-105. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2011). Narratives of classroom life: changing conceptions of knowledge." TESOL Quarterly, 45(3):463-485. 
  • Nelson, C.D. (2010). "A gay immigrant student’s perspective: unspeakable acts in the language class." TESOL Quarterly, 44(3):441-464. 

Review of research literature on language learning/teaching and sexual identity, for an Oxford University Press Handbook edited by Prof Kira Hall (Univ of Colorado) and A/Prof Rusty Barrett (Univ of Kentucky).

Additional projects currently underway include a book of creative non-fiction (manuscript in progress), and invited performances of research-based play, together with post-play Q&A.