Global scholar at Brock to study queer theory and childhood

Queer children and their cultural representations are the focus of research by a Brazilian graduate student from the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) who is currently visiting Brock’s Department of Child and Youth Studies.

Tiago Fioravante, originally from Novo Hamburgo in southern Brazil, has come from the Master in Cultural Diversity and Social Inclusion program at Feevale University for a five-month visit that will end in June. His academic host is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director Hannah Dyer.

“Tiago’s research interests overlap with mine in many ways,” says Dyer, who studies aesthetic representations of children and childhood, with a particular interest in theories of sexuality.

Fioravante is a recipient of a prestigious ELAP scholarship, which provides students from post-secondary institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean with short-term exchange opportunities for study or research at Canadian post-secondary institutions. He is one of five ELAP scholars currently visiting Brock.

“I chose to take up this scholarship at Brock University because there is an established and renowned Department of Child and Youth Studies, and because Professor Dyer is such a large reference in my field of study,” says Fioravante.

His work at Brock relates directly to his ongoing research in Feevale’s Children in Media: Center for Studies in Communication, Education and Culture.

“We are a group of students and researchers discussing the relations of childhood and media, focusing on a responsible communication regarding children,” says Fioravante. “I think Critical Childhood Studies is a field in expansion and I am glad to be part of this experience.”

In addition to presenting his work and ideas to students and participating in workshops while at Brock, Fioravante is also collaborating with Dyer on a journal article that he says is “related to our shared area of study — queer theory, childhood and cultural representations of children — looking at artistic representations of childhood and engaging in transnational conversations about children and gender.”

Dyer says the journal article focuses on the work of two artists and the ways in which their work raises questions about childhood, ethics and borders.

“Tiago’s focus in this project has been to show how the work of these artists can deepen the field of queer theories of childhood so that it can better account for contexts beyond the global north,” she says.

Dyer, who calls Fioravante “a welcome addition” to the group of graduate students she works with, says she has learned from him during his time at Brock.

“Tiago has been conceptualizing what he has termed ‘sound memories,’ which help to describe how we carry forward childhood experiences into our adult engagements with the social world,” she says. “Like me, he is also interested in how notions of childhood innocence protect some children over others, and how art can disrupt the repetition of such inequalities.”

Fioravante spent time in quarantine after his arrival to Canada on Jan. 30 but says he has since been able to connect with others and enjoy Niagara, even in spite of the unusual circumstances and protocols brought on by the pandemic.

“Even from a distance, I have been able to get to know people who have treated me in ways I never expected from strangers, with kindness and a willingness to help me to go through some adversities,” he says. “The region is beautiful by nature and has some incredible people living here.”

Fioravante says he has felt welcomed by the Brock community and especially by people in the Department of Child and Youth Studies and the Global Scholars Office.

“I am happy for the opportunity to build some bridges between the department and the research group I am part of in Brazil, since we are working toward the possibility of an inter-institutional partnership.”

Brock has a number of international partnerships with institutions around the world, including several in Latin America and the Caribbean. A list of Brock’s research and mobility partnerships can be found on the Brock International website.

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