Teaching visit of Professor María Martínez Lirola

We are absolutely delighted to host Professor María Martínez Lirola (University of Alicante) for a teaching visit to BA English at Middlesex, between 18th and 22nd of March 2019.

This is a list of the three diverse seminars she will lead at Middlesex University, London- all part of the Language & Communication Research Seminars series. Everyone is welcome!

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AN ANALYSIS OF THE IMAGE OF WOMEN IN COSMETIC SURGERY LEAFLETS: VISUAL GRAMMAR AS A TOOL TO DISCOVER STEREOTYPES. 

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 16.00-18.00 at room PRTCB6B (Portacabin)

There are many texts in which images of women are used for different purposes in our society. This research explores the main strategies used to create meaning in multimodal texts used by leaflets advertising cosmetic surgery in Alicante (Spain).  The study aims to point out that women are treated as objects in these leaflets. To demonstrate this argument the main visual and linguistic characteristics will be analysed in multimodal texts in which people are persuaded of the benefits of such surgery. Special attention will be paid to the influence that the different linguistic and visual choices may have on society. This study reveals that the image of women that appears in some leaflets of this type is so aggressive that it could be understood as a new form of gender violence.


 

APPROACHING THE REPRESENTATION OF SUB-SAHARAN IMMIGRANTS IN A SAMPLE FROM THE SPANISH PRESS: DECONSTRUCTING STEREOTYPES 

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 14.30 -16.30, at room V105 (Vine building) 

Spain has become a country receiving immigrants in the last years. The majority of the items of news related to immigration that appear in the press exhibit negative characteristics. The main purpose of this article is to observe the linguistic and visual representation of Sub-Saharan immigrants in a sample of the Spanish press in order to answer the following research questions: how are Sub-Saharan immigrants portrayed linguistically and visually in the given press? What are the implications of the choices in language and images?

The researcher collected all the pieces of news related to Sub-Saharan immigrants in the three most popular Spanish newspapers, i.e., El País, ABC and El Mundo from 1 June 2011 to 31 December 2014. Visual grammar and critical discourse analysis (CDA) will be used in order to deconstruct the visual and linguistic representation of such immigrants. In addition, van Leeuwen’s (2008) classification of social actors will be used in the analysis.

The analysis demonstrates that the representation of Sub-Saharan immigrants displays the following characteristics: they are represented as vulnerable, lacking autonomy, as victims, etc. This representation does not contribute to the fact that the autochthonous population favours the integration of immigrants into the socio-economic structure, exercising the same rights as the Spanish population, and therefore that the dichotomy we-they is emphasized.


HOW CAN WE INTRODUCE CULTURE AND CRITICAL THINKING IN THE CLASSROOM? EXPLORING THE USE OF MULTIMODAL TEXTS IN THE CLASSROOM 

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 17.00-19.00, at room C110 (College building)

The multimodal nature of present societies makes clear that teaching with authentic multimodal texts can contribute to bring different cultural realities into the classroom. In this sense, it was decided to use texts published by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in order to teach visual grammar (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2006) in a master course.

These texts were also selected because they are appropriate to teach cultural aspects, and the reality of poor countries; they also allow the acquisition of interpersonal competences. This paper will point out that teaching students to be critical with the discourse produced by NGOs is essential in order to unveil relationships of domination and power because discourse is always a powerful tool used to reproduce social reality.


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María Martínez Lirola is Professor of the Department of English at the University of Alicante, Spain and Research Fellow at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Her main areas of research are Applied Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis and Systemic Functional Linguistics. She has published more than 70 papers and seven books, such as Main Processes of Thematization and Postponement in English (Peter Lang, 2009). She has been a visiting scholar in different universities such as: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD, 2015), University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus (2015), University of British Columbia and University of Montréal (2014), Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada, 2012), University of South Africa, UNISA (Pretoria, South Africa, 2012), University of Anahuac Mayad (Mérida, Mexico, 2008), University of Kwazulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 2006), and Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia, 2005). She has presented papers in international congresses all over the world.

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Week of events hosted by the Language & Communication Research cluster

The week commencing 12th March will be the busiest week yet for our cluster; we have the final Language & Communication research seminar for this term:

The Embodied Nature of Narrative: Moving with purpose with others, and its disruption in autism

Dr Jonathan Delafield-Butt, Reader in Child Development (University of Strathclyde)

Wednesday 14 March 2018, 16.00 – 17.30, Room BG02 (Building 9) – note room change

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We are welcoming two Erasmus visiting professors who will give a number of exciting seminars.

Dr Aleksandra Vukotic (Assistant Professor, University of Belgrade), Erasmus+ visiting professor will give three transdisciplinary interactive seminars and an Open Lecture in the domain of literary, media, cultural, and film studies:

1. Metafiction in Postmodern American Literature and Popular Culture: Tuesday, 13 March, 12.00-14.00 at room BG09B (Building 9)

2. Intertextuality in Jeanette Winterson’s ‘The Gap of Time’: Wednesday, March 14, 12.00-14.00, room CG48 (College Building)

3. Negotiating the Technological Sublime: DeLillo’s and Antonioni’s Murder Mysteries: Thursday 15th March, 15.00-17.00, room CG43 (College building)

4. Whoever controls your eyeballs runs the world : A “Paranoid” Reading of MediaFriday 16th March, 10.00-12.00 at room CG09 (College building).

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Professor Ksenijah Kondali (Assistant Professor, University of Sarajevo), Erasmus+ visiting professor will give a seminar entitled Fictionalizing Transatlantic Slavery: A Comparative StudyFriday March 16th, 15.00 – 17.00 at PAG02 (Portacabin).

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You are welcome to attend any or all seminars  – no prior knowledge needed.

And of course, in addition to all these, Creative Writing & Journalism students are organizing a whole-day North London Story Festival (March 13th).

 

Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, University of Belgrade, coming to Middlesex for an Erasmus+ teaching visit: 12-16 March 2018

We are delighted to host Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, University of Belgrade (Faculty of Philology) for an Erasmus+ teaching visit between March 12th and 16th, 2018. She will give three transdisciplinary interactive seminars and an Open Lecture, in the domain of media, cultural, literary and film studies.

Metafiction in Postmodern American Literature and Popular Culture

Tuesday, 13 March, 12.00-14.00 at room BG09B (Building 9)

In this session, Aleksandra will explore the reasons why metafiction became immensely popular in the 2nd half of the 20th century, especially in the 60s in the U.S. Through numerous examples from the U.S. fiction and popular culture (from ‘Pulp Fiction’ to the latest season of ‘Twin Peaks’) she will discuss why we cannot dismiss metafiction as ‘a thing of the past’ and why metafictional strategies still have the capacity to inspire us to think critically about today’s world.

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Intertextuality in Jeanette Winterson’s ‘The Gap of Time’

Wednesday, March 14, 12.00-14.00, room CG48 (College Building)

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Whoever controls your eyeballs runs the world : A “Paranoid” Reading of Media

Friday 16th March, 10.00-12.00 at room CG09 (College building).

This seminar explores one of the most pressing issues of today’s world – the problem of ever-present violence in the media and terrorism as a new world narrative. It focuses on the feedback loop between media and violence, escalating in terrorist attacks (which would be ‘nothing without the media’ as Baudrillard explained), again as reflected in contemporary fiction and film. It also discusses the misuse and abuse of the power of media, inviting the audience to think about the possible ways out of this ‘vicious circle.’ The novelists and filmmakers who closely follow and explore media strategies in their works (only to subvert them) will surely be a fertile source of ideas and inspiration.

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Aleksandra will also give an Open Lecture on Thursday, 15th March, 15.00 -17.00, Room CG43 (College building):

Negotiating the Technological Sublime: DeLillo’s and Antonioni’s Murder Mysteries

Have we placed too much faith in reason and technology? Is technology our fantasy? As we rely more and more on technological advancements and innovations, do we move away from the factual reality towards fiction and illusion? Is our wish to explain away the mysteries of our time through science and technology ultimately a death wish? Or, as a character notes in DeLillo’s Zero K, Does technology have a death wish?

Michelangelo Antonioni, one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century, and Don DeLillo, one of the greatest contemporary American novelists, have repeatedly adressesed these questions in their works, examining what happens with the human need for the marvellous and the sublime in the world of technology which promises revelations of all mysteries. We will discuss this topic through examples from Antonioni’s cult film Blow-Up (1966) and DeLillo’s novels Libra (1988), Underworld (1997) and Falling Man (2007), focusing on the characters’ fascination with dead bodies caught on film and photograph.

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Aleksandra Vukotić is Assistant Professor at the English Department of the University of Belgrade. She holds a PhD in American literature, and she is currently preparing a manuscript on history and fiction in the novels of Don DeLillo. Aleksandra is also a freelance translator and member of the editorial board of the Belgrade BELLS Journal published by the University of Belgrade. Her interests include, among other, contemporary American literature, selected problems of literary theory, literary and visual studies.

You are welcome to attend any or all of Dr Vukotić’s seminars. No need to register.

For an outline of all Language & Communication events the week commencing March 12th 2018, please click here.