CLAS research student Dr Ben Hoff has successfully defended his thesis entitled ‘Relocating Cities and Dissident Sexualities: Queer Urban Geographies in Recent Latin American Cinema’. His thesis was supervised by Dr Lisa Shaw (CLAS) and Dr Richard Phillips (Geography), and examined by Prof. Lúcia Sá (Manchester). Ben gives us a short summary of his research:
My thesis explores the relationship between urban space and dissident sexualities in the context of recent examples of Latin American cinema from Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. It considers how this relationship disturbs, remaps and relocates local sexualised urban imaginaries and how these, in turn, speak back to hegemonic globalised geographies of sexualities and the rather problematic sets of binaries around which they have been constructed. The main point of my discussion is to question US/Euro-centric assumptions that dissident sexual cultures in Latin America are little more than belated and repressed echoes of gay life in the ‘global north’ without at the same time denying the oppression still suffered by sexual minorities in Latin American cities. Articulated through a queer lens, my analysis sheds light on the wider cinematic context in which these films sit whilst also speaking more broadly to debates in gay and lesbian studies and urban studies.