Dec 1, 2016

The founding principle of all the activities of Zdenek and Michaela Bakala is, truly, the courage, which must, according to their belief, always go hand in hand with responsibility.
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Elvis Gomes

Elvis Gomes

I graduated recently from the University of Lausanne with a master degree in English Language & Literature, and a bachelor in Film Studies. During the second year of my bachelor, I spent a year abroad at the University of Montana (USA), where I realized how important the Humanities are in order to have a critical outlook on the social representations delivered in film and literature via language. I especially became very fascinated by critical theory and its application to everyday situations, which shaped my interest in sociolinguistics and critical discourse analysis. During my studies, I equally had the pleasure to teach English for the last four years at a small private school called “École de la Cressire “ that welcomes, among others, young secondary students with learning difficulties. It has always been a pleasure to witness their improvement and to teach them how to become compassionate and tolerant citizens by paying attention to, and intervening when, their language use was discriminatory. Last but not least, I participated in “Switzerland’s Got Talent” in 2015 with an original song and started subsequently a music project called “#OCDletmego” that aimed at raising awareness about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Although I received a stipend from the Economic & Social Research Council to pursue a PhD in linguistics at Queen Mary University London under the supervision of Dr. Erez Levon and Dr. Olivia Knapton, I am grateful that the Foundation Zdenek and Michaela Bakala is willing to support my living expanses in a city that is renowned to be expensive. My PhD project, “Normative Regulations of Discourses about Misunderstood Sexual Obsessions”, aims to further our understanding of sexual intrusive thoughts – a sub-type of OCD – by analyzing with quanti-/qualitative tools how affected people talk about their experience on online forums. These people spend numerous hours obsessing, among others, about their sexual or gender identity. In other words, they pathologically doubt to be transgender or homo-/ hetero-/bi-/mono/asexual, depending on their own personal identification. Since this type of OCD is not well known, psychotherapists are more likely to misdiagnose it and to propose inappropriate therapy that worsens the state of mind of affected people. By analyzing how the latter communicate about their experiences, I expect to find repetitive discursive patterns that could provide therapists with linguistic indications to better assess sexual intrusive thoughts.


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