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Dissertation
What YouTube Teaches About Sexuality. Or Whom Do I Follow?
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The theme of sex and sexuality has been actual in every society throughout history, and in the contemporary thought this discourse is presumably perceived as open and is discussed with relatively liberal attitudes. However, with the rise of modern media, the subject has gained another dimension where the free flow of information generates very diverse and somewhat contradictory norms and attitudes. Thus, long-lasting dominance of official education to inform adolescents is challenged. The purpose of the thesis was to analyze the interlinked dimensions and influences in two mediums – official sexuality education and the media, especially YouTube as a platform for individual storytelling – so challenging official sexuality education, and possibly generating ideas, norms, values and attitudes that are contradictory. The thesis examines how media influence adolescents’ sexuality education, what messages YouTube channels generate, what stance contemporary sexuality education takes, and how these two mediums complement and oppose each other in educating adolescents. To answer the research questions and give profound conclusions, the literary sources on sexual health, sexuality education and mass media were analyzed. The case studies were incorporated to conclude how visual and verbal messages generated in YouTube influence adolescent’s sexuality education. For the final analyses, the comparison of the case studies and official educational guidelines were made. The thesis is composed of seven chapters, each of them dealing with a specific aspect that contributes to the research’s goals: chapter one examines Foucauldian discourse when analyzing sexuality and its influence on contemporary society’s thought. Chapter two analyzes media’s influence on sexuality, and how adolescent’s identity can be shaped by consuming its messages. Chapter three is devoted to analyze sexuality discourse in the guidelines for official sexuality education. The diverse media content and possible harms when adolescents operate in the online environment are discussed in chapter four. Chapter five specifically deals with YouTube’s influence in shaping adolescent’s sexuality education. For an illustrative example chapter six analyzes specific videos of YouTubers (case studies) and draw on messages they generate about sex and sexuality. Conclusions are made in chapter seven, answering to the research questions and illustrating the common and opposite paradigms when educating adolescents about the topics. The conclusions are indicating on the media’s influence on adolescents, as it offers explicit content and generates repetitive norms. Additionally, YouTube as a media tool is challenging official sexuality education, for diverse content on this platform allows adolescents to gain media knowledge without intermediation of education institutions. In addition, peer-to-peer learning and media recycled information challenge official education paradigms. YouTube as a counterbalancing tool of mainstream social norms challenges normativity and encourages diversity – now also increasingly significant in official education. However, the identified dangerous characteristics of online realities required further inspection of advantages and disadvantages of media’s generated knowledge and schools’ compensative actions.

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Dissertation
Understanding the Fashion Film: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Integration of Fashion Films in the Film Industry
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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In the last years, fashion films have revolutionized the relation of fashion and the audiovisual world. The versatility of fashion films to integrate in the activity of different industries has generated different approaches to understand what a fashion film is. While the advertising industry, the fashion media, the photography, and the cultural academia have dedicated studies to analyze how fashion films integrate on their business, the film sector has shown little interest on them. This thesis attempts to create a general image of how fashion films can be contextualize in cinema attending to their characteristics of these films, the interaction of the film and the fashion industry, the influence that the conventions of film exerts on the fashion film, and the parallelisms between the business management models followed by the film sector and the fashion film industry. To do so, this thesis takes as a reference the semiotic model formulated by Greimas and the research methodology used by the film scholar Bill Nichols in his investigation about the documentary film as a genre.

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Dissertation
Music for film, film for music.The role of music in Polański’s and Kieślowski’s films.
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The present thesis examined the role of music in film. The research question of the present thesis was: in what ways could music significantly contribute to the final result of the cooperation with the other filmic elements in a sound film? The objectives that this thesis aimed to accomplish were: to analyze music’s position in relation to the motion picture and narrative; to discuss innovative functions music can have in a non-Hollywood film; to discuss the dynamics of collaboration between a director and composer. Despite the fact that the soundtrack industry is a prospering business, the issue of commercial value will not be tackled, in order to focus on the cultural aspects. The case studies are examples of nonHollywood movies. The conventions of film scoring are deliberately breached by the composers in order to achieve desired artistic outcome.

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Dissertation
Connected Ghana: ICT as Development Tool? How Ghana is wisely using technology for socio-economic development.
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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Since the mid-90s, the speed, flexibility and affordability of rapidly evolving digital technology, and the increased visibility of mobile telephony and the internet's introduction of globalized social networking sites, have helped to slowly shut the digital divide between the haves and have-nots. As a result, it has enabled millions of people in developing countries, like Ghana to join the digital world. Scholars and observers across the globe have started to question the role of ICTs, with a key focus on how ICTs are impacting the economical, social, political and cultural aspect of life. In the African context, there has been less research on the matter. Mostly when speaking about development, we tend to think first in the economic terms. Many other sectors including the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are therefore likely to be excluded from the development debate. As a consequence, the economic potential of these sectors stays unacknowledged. This research paper seeks to understand how the Sub-Saharan country Ghana is wisely using technology today for socio-economic development and poverty reduction. With an in-depth focus on her cultural and creative industry as an example. The following research questions will guide my analysis: 1. The increase in the usage of ICTs worldwide has been growing faster. What has been the case in regard to its readiness and use in Ghana? 2. What is the place of ICTs in Ghana as respect to development? 3. What is happening in the field of ICTs and cultural and creative industries (CCIs)? 4. Have ICTs changed the cultural and creative industries? 5. How is the sub-Saharan country Ghana wisely using these technologies as a tool for socio-economic development? Answering the above questions, we however learn that the cultural and creative industries are increasingly becoming an important components of the modern economy and knowledge-based society due to their impact on the enrichment of development. And thus therefore, the country may need to address issues such as education, distribution of cultural infrastructures, social participation, cultural governance in order to help recognize the economic potential of the CCIs

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Dissertation
The Emerging Diaspora: Transnationalism and Hybridity in Paul Gilroy's Black Atlantic
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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With its rich content harboring unorthodox outlooks on diaspora identity, vernacular culture and modernity, over the passing years Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness has been a thought-provoking text for multiple disciplines including Cultural Studies, Anthropology and African American Studies. The book not only stands out as Gilroy’s most celebrated piece but also represents a peculiar stance that essentially defies absolutist and essentialist paradigms for thinking about cultural history. Hence, many original analysis evoked by Gilroy has endowed The Black Atlantic such acclaim. Among them, the one attracting particular attention is perhaps the black Atlantic’s challenge of the classical understanding of diaspora. Arguably, Gilroy picks up and expands the model of diaspora and cultural identity that was initially laid out by Stuart Hall. When it comes to generations of black communities living in the West, the hermeneutics of diaspora and identity attains a complex nature. The way in which Gilroy juxtaposed the African diaspora’s historical experience and their diaspora culture sets the discursive tone of this hermeneutics. Nevertheless, Gilroy’s conceptualization of the black Atlantic reflects on a broad terrain. Within this terrain, the debate of modernity and its racial implications also occupies a considerable space. The primary focus of the present study is, however, from Stuart Hall to Paul Gilroy, how has the concept of diaspora evolved. It also attempts to identify the problematic aspects of the black Atlantic. As such, what this substantial inquiry offers is twofold: first, by combining Stuart Hall insights with Gilroy’s, it provides a research on the African diaspora. Second, it incorporates published responses to Gilroy while adding up a critical commentary. One of the chief objectives of the present study is to reveal how the black communities’ appropriation of diaspora differs from its classical interpretation and what form of identity is entailed by this appropriation.

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Dissertation
Too Cool for Its Own Good? The Gentrification of Street Art and Brooklyn
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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Dissertation
"So You Think You Are Better Than Me": Theorizing Seinfeld's Idenity Politics
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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Abstract “So You Think You Are Better Than Me”: Theorizing Seinfeld’s Identity Politics is a thesis dedicated to hypothesizing about Seinfeld’s identity politics in relationship to the era in which it originally aired. The thesis will first investigate the history of the situational comedy (sitcom) from its inception to the 1990s and where Seinfeld took the stage as one of the most popular sitcoms. The paper then expands on history and ideologies of the 1980s to gather a pretext for the circumstances preceding Seinfeld and how this may have impacted the sitcom. Next, the 1990s are examined in context to what Seinfeld embodied from the era in which it was originally broadcasted. After providing the background framework of the sitcom and America in the late 20th century, the thesis sets the scene for theorizing upon four case study examples present in Seinfeld, all to be examined through the critical lens of identity politics. These four case studies in order referenced are Jerry Seinfeld and Jewishness, Elaine Benes and post-feminism, George Costanza and modern masculinity, and finally Cosmo Kramer and hipster. Furthermore, the paper will elaborate on the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and how it can be linked to reveal current themes in American identity politics via the notion of the gaining popularity of political incorrectness. I will argue that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is matching current trends in the present day, just how Seinfeld did in its era of the nineties. Finally, an appendix with further theories about sitcoms existing in the pre-Seinfeld and Seinfeld era will be cultivated through Greimas’s semiotic square in regards to traditional sitcoms and innovational sitcoms.

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Dissertation
Who am I? Performances, Ideals and Narrations on Social Networks
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The subject of this thesis is the analysis of the projection and construction of the self in social networks. Since these concepts are broad topics and can be approached from different perspectives, the thesis focuses on two social networks: Facebook and Instagram and work on three pillar topics: photography, performativity and memory. First, it analyses the shifts in personal photography after the advent of social networks and it studies these shifts in terms of “friendship photography,” emotions, aesthetics and memory. This section gives an overview of how users develop a new relationship with photography and also how they start developing their identities through online photography. Second, it explores how social networks help to develop an “online persona” through performativity, narrations and future projections. And finally, the third section explores from a critical perspective, with Jean Baudrillard’s work, how users construct themselves through image sharing and self-performance on social networks. To explain the projection and the construction of the self online is a complex topic and it does not have a clear and straightforward explanation. However, my intention is to dissect some aspects that contribute to clarify how users project and construct themselves in a mediated way through social networks.  

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Dissertation
The destruction of the Syrian Cultural heritage: a loss of human identity
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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Today, Syria is a destroyed country involved in a terrible conflict. As a consequence of this war, its cultural heritage is in danger. This country saw the dawn of some of the most ancient civilities in history and its heritage was built as proof of the past to the future generations. It’s important to defend it, because the cultural heritage won’t have a meaning if we can’t remember the past. It cannot exist without the present. It is our identity. The first part of my Master thesis is called “Cultural heritage as an identity”. In this first part I analysed the general concept of Cultural heritage, its definition and how this concept was born in our society. Then I focused myself deeper on the Syrian heritage analysing the UNESCO sites in Syria. The next chapter is speaking about ‘who’ is considered to be responsible for this destruction. It is possible to establish the three main responsible parties who are looting in Syria: the Regime of Assad, the IS, and the Kurdish militant group. Antiquities in Syria become financiers of war because the artefacts are exchanged for guns or money in order to sustain the war. They are sold cheaply in the illegal trade and they get lost forever. The illegal market of antiquities is difficult to control and probably it doesn't have an end. Today, you can even find some of the antiquities for sale on internet. In order to stop this illegal trade, it is fundamental that stringent legislation is created on the one side, and that states in the Middle East and the West collaborate together on the other side. The cultural heritage is in danger, but not only today, during history. What happens in Syria is just an example of the destruction of art in our past. In order to understand the destruction in Syria better, I decided to give some examples of the past in order to understand the present . If we look at our past, we can find a lot of examples of this type of destruction and I decided to analyse some of them. I choose to analyse the Romans, the French Revolution, the Russian communist, the Nazis and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. History is repeating itself, History teaches us. We were destroying images, we are destroying images and we will destroy them in the future as well. In my thesis, I used this argument analysing the reasons behind the “war of Images”. Images have a power on us, they speak to us, not through words but with an invisible power that we cannot touch but which is there in a very strong way. Images are “vital signs” because of the meaning that we give to them. And it is all because images have meaning, a meaning that we give them. It is because of this meaning they have that sometimes we want to destroy them. The second part of my thesis is called “Cultural heritage as a memory”. I decided to write about what has be done to defend culture in the past, like the case of “Monuments men”, Pasquale Rotondi and Rodolfo Siviero. I chose then to analyse three particular cases of stolen artworks during the Second World War: the “Woman in Gold” , the Gent Altarpiece and the Amber Chamber. But culture can also collaborate with technology in the fight against this destruction. In this part of the thesis I wrote about the 3D printer but also about the “blue helmets” suggested by UNESCO. But there is another solution for this destruction. The Syrian refugees are creating artworks that reproduce the heritage lost during the war.

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Dissertation
Married Women through Cinematic Lens: Representation of Married Women in contemporary Bollywood Cinema
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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In this empirical research, one aims to investigate the Representation of married women in contemporary Bollywood cinema. A significant amount of studies exists in literature addressing issues like sexual objectification of women and stereotypical representation of women in films which is crucial in understanding a society which is predominantly patriarchal. However, one recognizes that negligible literature exists on how married women have been represented in the mainstream Hindi cinema. The implication of this thesis is to specifically comprehend and analyze the depth given to the characterization and depiction of married women through three contemporary mainstream Hindi films as case-studies by using analytical tools such as 'mise-en- scene', narrative analysis, and content and form analysis. Through the chosen case studies, themes like loneliness in marriage, extra-marital affection and affairs, expectation of childbirth, among several others shall be explored.

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