Telephone: +44(0)29 2087 5600
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Location: Room 2.26, 65-68 Park Place
The Representation of Gender and Sexual Identities on Spanish and Catalan Television
My research focuses on the construction of gender, sexual orientation, and cultural identity in Spanish and Catalan drama serials.
I examine the function performed by Catalan television in constructing a Catalan national identity and draw on the work of Stuart Hall, Michel Foucault and Chris Barker to query concepts such as subject, identity and culture. I consider how, in spite of the postmodern and globalised context we live in, television is still a major resource for the construction of cultural identities especially in the context of so-called stateless nations. By applying theories of identity politics to the soap opera genre I query the role of Catalan drama serials in fostering an image of Catalonia as a nation.
My work addresses the prominence of the soap opera genre in feminist studies and synthesises strands from liberal, post-structural, Marxist and radical feminism with a new perspective on women in Catalan television. I use the scholarship of Charlotte Brunsdon, Marion Jordon, Dorothy Hobson and Christine Geraghty to analyse audiences’ responses to and engagement with television content. Much of the critical literature on soap opera refers to British and US television drama and my work innovates by adapting existing interpretive paradigms to the specificities of the Catalan and Spanish contexts.
My research also deals with the representation of the LGBT community in fictional programming and uses work by Suzanna Danuta Walters and Richard Dyer to approach a socio-cultural context, of rapid and radical change in Spanish and Catalan society in the last 15 years. An inventory of LGBT characters and plot lines in Spanish and Catalan soaps allows my research to shift the dialogue between Queer Theory and media studies articulated by Michele Aaron, Harry M. Benshoff, and Sean Griffin to a body of television programming which has not previously been read from this perspective.
I also look closely at the forms soap opera assumes on the Internet and through video sharing sites and community portals. I examine how resources such as YouTube are being used by LGBT communities to repackage the content of Spanish and Catalan drama serials in order to change and re-prioritise their focus. I draw on pioneering work in the field of Cyberqueer Studies, and on Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer’s theorisation of the merger of Internet and television platforms; I translate the work of Anglo-American scholars of participatory cultures and internet ethnography to the cross-platform consumption of Catalan soaps and offer a new perspective on an increasingly important iteration of queer culture and identity.
For my research I have also conducted interviews with directors and writers of Catalan television.
“Game Over: How to Deal with the End of a Soap”, Forthcoming in The Last Film Dossier, a special collection of articles for Jura Gentium Cinema [include url here].
“Visual Nation: Constructing a National Identity on Catalan Television” (59-73), in Prout, Ryan and Altenberg, Tilmann (eds) (2011) Seeing in Spanish: From Don Quixote to Daddy Yankee: 22 New Essays on Hispanic Visual Cultures (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing).
Interaction between Women and Feminist Studies and Media Studies.
In Gordon’s words, feminism in its different and often contradictory strands consists of an analysis of women’s subordination for the purpose of figuring out how to change it. According to Catherine Lumby, if feminism is to remain relevant to the everyday lives of women, then feminists need the tools to understand everyday culture. Indeed, analysing how patriarchal ideology excluded, silenced and oppressed women inevitably leads to the analysis of the processes and practices that produced ideas about what it means to be a woman in culture. In this sense, gender representations in the media, especially television, acquire a significant importance, due to the power of representation to promote or contest domination. It is not a coincidence that feminism and television studies appeared in the academy at the same time because both of them are rooted in an intellectual context which challenges grand theories and master narratives. I am particularly interested in analysing fictional shows and their representation of women and gender issues.
Interaction between LGBT and Queer Studies and Media Studies
Media visibility is a fundamental part of the trajectory of any quest to move identity politics into the public and political spheres. We come to know ourselves and to be known by others through the images and stories of popular culture: this is a media-dominated society and being omitted from the media’s center stage is a form of symbolic annihilation. Since television has been the unquestioned aedo of our recent past, it is important to analyse its representation of gay identity and the risk pointed to By Stuart Hall of its creation of a carefully regulated, segregated visibility. I mainly focus on fictional shows because, as Capsuto argues, they underscore the marginalising or legitimising of topics, inspiring sympathy or scorn towards issues and people. If, as Larry Gross claims, television is our (selective) window of the world (or, according to Brown, a distorting reflector), we first have to try to understand society to see how television has tried to reflect it and maybe also influence it.
LGBT content in the New Media
I am interesting in examining the ways in which the LGBT communities re-appropriate and re-interpret TV series through video-sharing portals. How does the meaning of these series change in this new global context? What do the availability of these videos and the possibility of posting and commenting imply for gay people? Furthermore, what does YouTube imply for the future of broadcast television? Will it undermine network television’s role of aedo?
Interaction between Cultural Studies and Media Studies.
Considering Anderson’s and Bahbah’s theorisation of nation as a discursive construction made of shared experiences and narrated histories, I focus on television’s role of creating an imago mundi, an imagined space which gives cohesion to the society that recognises itself on the small screen. The main focus of my research is Catalan television and media and its role as “total” and national television, aimed at creating a virtual space of identity where Catalan people could recognise themselves, thus functioning as an element of cohesion in Catalan society and as an instrument contributing towards the re-construction of national identity. I examine how Catalan television has been used as a vehicle to foster Catalan language and create a Catalan national imagery through different kind of programming, from news to sport and cultural programmes. However, I focus my attention of fictional shows, whose role as ideological and cultural products that project a point of view about our society and our nation through their narrative ideology should not be underestimate.
I am currently a Ph.D. student at the School of European Studies at Cardiff University. The video diary about my experience as a Ph.D. student in Cardiff can be visualised here: [include url here]
I completed my Laurea (three-year Undergraduate Degree) in “Mediazione Linguistica e Culturale” and my Laurea Magistrale (two-year Postgraduate Degree) in “Lingue, Culture e Comunicazione Internazionale” at the Università degli Studi di Milano (both cum laude).
I have written two theses, both of which drew on the fruitful intersections between Cultural Studies, Media Studies and LGBT Studies. In order to conclude my Laurea, in July 2006 I discussed No Sex in this City: The Portrayal of Male Homosexuality on American Broadcasting Television, an analysis of the construction of gay identity on American commercial television from the 1950s to the present. Particular attention was given to how political and cultural events and contexts have influenced the representation of gay people on television and how television has influenced the social perception of the gay community, establishing in this way a mutual relationship between society and the small screen. In order to search material, I spent one month in New York to do archival research at the New York University Library, the New York Public Library and the Columbia University Library.
In order to conclude my Laurea Magistrale, in December 2008 I discussed Like a Carsic River: Gay Independent Cinema from Underground Films to New Queer Cinema and Beyond. This thesis discovers recurrent elements in gay independent cinema, and thus constructs a genealogy between different generations of gay directors. Particular attention was given to how different social and cultural contexts have influenced gay independent cinema and why in some crucial moments this kind of cinema has acquired media and public attention. It focused primarily on three crucial moments for the gay community that marked a rupture with the past, socially, politically and culturally: the 1940s, with the post-war period and the formation of an embryonic gay community; the 1960s-1970s with the sexual liberation and the birth of the Gay Liberation Movement; and the 1990s with the development of queer theories, deeply rooted in the AIDS crisis. My thesis analysed how gay cinema tried to narrate these events and portray the LGBT community.
In 2003 I gained two Language Certificate: - DELF Certificate in French, Levels A1 and A2 - GOETHE: Certificate in German, Level B1 In 2010 I gained the RAMON LULL Certificate in Catalan, Intermediate Level. In 2005 I attended three European Social Fund (ESF) courses (financed by the European Union Fund): - Oral Linguistic Mediation in the professional and institutional field for Spanish language (evaluation: 28/30 – ECTS: A) - Oral Linguistic Mediation in the professional and institutional field for English language (evaluation: 29/30 – ECTS: A) - Professional Translation from English to Italian (PASSED – No evaluation) In 2009 I worked as an English teacher in “Francesco Severi” high school in Milan.
I have won a Cardiff School of European Studies Student Bursary for full-time PhD research 2009-2012.
I won the first prize for presentation at the Voice of Humanities Postgraduate Conference in 2011.
I am a member of:
The Anglo-Catalan Society
The Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies Association (WISPS)
I am part of the Languages, Cultures and Ideologies Research Unit (formerly known as History, Memories and Fictions of Europe) in the School of European Studies at Cardiff University.
I participate in two interdisciplinary research networks: “Visions and Visionaries” and “Families, Identities and Gender”.
I am a member of the Queer in Europe group.
Papers presented at conferences and other fora
- “El cor de la ciutat: Constructing Catalan Identity, Social Issues, and Reactions of the Youth Audience”, Fractured Identities: Resisting Hispanic Visual Cultures conference, Cardiff University, July 2009.
- “Representing a Catalan National Imaginary through TV News and Meteorological Maps”, Voice of the Humanities postgraduate conference, Cardiff University, March 2010.
- “The Construction of Gender and Sexual Identities on TV3: The Representation of Women in Catalan Soap Operas”, History, Memories and Fictions of Europe Research in Progress Seminar, October 2010.
- “Visions of the Past: Re-telling your own History (and Stories)”, Visions and Visionaries seminar series, Cardiff University, October 2010.
- “Shifting Gender and Cultural Identities: Friendship, Self-discovery, and Migration in La Mari”, WISPS annual conference, Swansea University, November 2010.
- “The Importance of Minority Language Television”, S4C event at Cardiff University, November 2010.
- “Veus oblidades: Resistència i genealogia femenines a La Mari”, Anglo-Catalan Society annual conference, Universitat Oberta de Barcelona, December 2010.
- “Game Over: How do Deal with the End of a Soap”, Voice of Humanities postgraduate conference, Cardiff University, March 2011.
I have been contributing to undergraduate teaching since 2009 and have given lectures and led seminar teaching for courses at Cardiff University. I contributed lectures on construction of gender roles in Pedro Almodovar’s films to a first year course on Spanish film and writing and led seminars and gave lectures for a second year course on landmark films from Spain and Latin America. I also led a seminar on the representation of homosexuality in films for this course as well as a seminar on the role of Catalan music as a space for cultural resistance for a fourth year course of Catalan language and culture. I was also invited by Dr Eva Bru to contribute teaching to a course on Catalan Identity at Birmingham University.