#HumanityWashedAshore: war, transmediatisation, multimodality and (de)humanisation

Speaker: Jaime de Souza Júnior (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

When: Wednesday 28 November; 14:00-15:00

Where: Baines Wing (2.13)


In 2015, a highly influential Western news agency intervened in the circulation of the digital event[i] #HumanityWashedAshore that first emerged on Twitter in Turkish as#KiyiyaVuranInsanlikThese hashtagged expressions inaugurated textual trajectories that trans/mediatised[ii] (i.e. re/circulated in different media spaces) the photograph of A(y)lan Kurdi,  a  3-year-old refugee boy, who died after he and most of his relatives drowned trying to escape the war in Syria.
It was not the first time that global news agencies mediatised the association war-media-child, producing frames and texts of war[iii]. In 1972, newspapers around the world captured a related episode and circulated a picture that showed a naked 9-year-old Vietnamese girl, Kim Phuc, along with a group of terrified children running away from chemical attacks, while well-equipped soldiers (in the same photograph) observed that scene during the Vietnam War.
Regarding the transformation of the association war-media-child into one of war-media-child-death (in the case of the Syrian panorama) along with the transmedia circulation of #HumanityWashedAshore and the textual trajectories it generated, this research asks whether the contemporary order of discourse of global media[iv] (i.e. a network of institutional and specialised media practices) can still operate  in terms of political  and socio-historical orientation in a way that is similar to the one perceived in the Vietnamese conflict, being capable of: i)  sustaining that order´s monopoly of multimodally[v]communicating the war in Syria, remaining institutionally autonomous to denounce war-related dehumanising practices or effects (i.e. mobility dynamics/ death of a civilian child);and  ii)  influencing our ethical and affective repertories to frame the body of a child (i.e. Aylan) as a war  participant in a humanising way.
Jaime de Souza Júnior is a doctorate student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Programme in Applied Linguistics (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ, Brazil). Mr. Souza Júnior has been teaching Portuguese as a mother tongue, English as a foreign language and ESP/EAP reading courses to undergraduate students of Computer Science and graduate students of Philosophy who intend to take an M.A. in their area. So far, he has published one book; has been collaborating as an author in a website-based interdisciplinary academic project from Brazil; and has also been publishing book chapters and research articles in peer-reviewed journals regarding the following areas: (Multimodal) Discourse Analysis; Trans/media Studies and Textual Trajectories; Corpus Linguistics, on-line inter-actions and Othering; Digitalisation, Social Semiotics and Internet memes; ICTs, Teaching and Visual Literacy. Finally, Jaime has been receiving requests to contribute to indexed peer-reviewed scientific journals as a referee.  
Main references in order of appearance:
[1]Souza Júnior, J. (2015)#In Brazilian Portuguese, memes and phenomena: linguistics and its suggestions to  explore  digital  event  propagation. Palimpsesto (Rio de Janeiro. Online), v. 21, p.314-328.
[1] Van Hout, T.; Burger, P. (2015) Mediatization and the language of journalism. Tilburg papers in culture studies. Paper 108.
[1] Butler, J. (2010) Frames of war: when is life grievable? New York: Verso.
[1]Foucault, M. (1981) The order of discourseIn: YOUNG, R. (ed.).Untying the text: a poststructuralist reader. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, p. 48-78.
[1] Kress, G.; van Leeuwen, T. (1996) Reading images: the grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.
Agha, A. (2009) Language and Social relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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