School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Special Workshop: Approaching Gender and Sexuality

15 February 2018

Time: 4:00 - 6:00pm
Venue: Geography 117

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This workshop will consist of 2 invited talks by leading gender/sexuality researchers, followed by discussion among students on issues of gender and sexuality in your work. The invited speakers are:

  • Ana Cristina Ostermann (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos), who will give a talk entitled “What’s in a name: Finding gender and sexuality where you weren’t looking”
  • Rodrigo Borba (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) & Tommaso Milani (Gothenburg University), who will give a talk entitled “The coloniality of the body”

Abstract for both talks are below, and refreshments will be served.


What’s in a name: Finding gender and sexuality where you weren’t looking

Ana Cristina Ostermann

In the field of Conversation Analysis (CA) – which investigates social action and identity in everyday, naturalistic interactions – scrutinizing the relationship of language, gender, and sexuality can be a tricky enterprise, especially because of CA’s assumption that speakers and talk are not predetermined by abstract discourses ‘from above’ or ‘beyond’ talk. In this presentation, I hope to show how one can, indeed, not only spot the relationship between language, gender and sexuality in very palpable ways in the minutia of recorded and transcribed real conversations, but also demonstrate heteronormativity ‘in action’; more specifically yet, I hope to show, in the analysis of the ‘interactional space’ of a question and its answer, how speakers reveal their orientation to a heteronormative world.


The coloniality of the body

Rodrigo Borba and Tommaso Milani

Since its “discovery”, Brazil has been framed as a land of exotic peoples and exuberant bodies. The body has been a source for discourses of bewilderment, pleasure, and control which establish peoples as subaltern Others. Against this backdrop, this paper scrutinizes the coloniality of power and its dynamics of valorization and hierarchization of racialized bodies in Brazilian media. We investigate the mediatization of Brazil’s allegedly most famous products: carnival and bums. In 2016, a man was chosen to take over a traditionally female role in a samba school parade because of the size of his buttocks. Grounded on critical multimodal discourse analysis, we analyze three media datasets about the man’s bum: (1) news articles, (2) online commentators’ reactions to the news, and (3) an interview in a variety TV show. We argue that the mediatization of the man’s bum revives the coloniality of power and its dynamics of sexualization and othering of non-European bodies. Such dynamics reproduce hegemonic discourses of embodiment which objectify the Other and help us understand the pervasiveness of colonial discursive regimes in contemporary Brazil.