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University’s High Reputation Attracted Humboldt Fellows to Chemnitz

Humboldt fellow Dr. Paul Onanuga is researching homosexuality in social media at the Professorship of English Language and Linguistics at Chemnitz University of Technology

Since 19 September 2019, the Professorship of English Language and Linguistics (Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied) of Chemnitz University of Technology is the research home for Dr. Paul Onanuga. The linguist received the Georg Forster Research Fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation for postdoctoral researchers, and he has chosen Chemnitz University of Technology to be his host and cooperative partner. Previously, Onanuga studied at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (Nigeria), and then worked as a research associate at the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Oye-Ekiti (Nigeria) at the Professorship of English Linguistics.

Homosexuality in the digital sphere

Onanuga’s research focuses on the application of critical discourse-analytical and text-linguistic theories on discourse materials and discourse contexts – specifically computer-aided communication, Nigerian hip hop, and political discourse. With a scholarship award from the renowned Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Onanuga will spend over eighteen months engaging in online discourses and counter discussions on homosexuality in the digital space of his native Nigeria.

“Chemnitz University of Technology was my first choice for this research stay, because Professor Schmied’s professorship was warmly recommended to me by a Nigerian colleague,” says Onanuga. The Professorship of English Linguistics already looks back on a long tradition as a welcome home for international research fellows and doctoral candidates.

Social media influencing the public discourse on homosexuality

“With the growing public discourse on homosexuality in Nigeria, I am studying how homophile Nigerians use social media to express their sexual orientation.” Onanuga adds, “it examines how negative and prejudicial labels relating to homosexuality contribute to the emerging discussions about homosexuality.”

In his scientific work on “Online Discourse and Counter-Discourse on Homosexuality in the Nigerian Digital Sphere”, the researcher examines how social media platforms have made it possible to express opinions on homosexuality in Nigeria’s digital space. The study draws contents from social media and microblogging platforms such as Twitter, journal publications, textbooks and trusted online sources.

Although the research stay is a big step for the Nigerian, he draws his first positive conclusions after only a few weeks: “The colleagues at the university are very open-minded and received me in a friendly manner and made me feel at home. Chemnitz University of Technology offers a great platform for my research.”

Background: Georg Forster Research Fellowship

The Georg Forster Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers highly qualified scientists from developing countries the opportunity to carry out their research project in Germany with a scientific host of their choice. In particular, researchers with above-average qualifications from a developing or emerging country are encouraged to take part.

(Author: Julia Henkel / Translation: Jeffrey Karnitz)

Matthias Fejes

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