The Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program in Applied Linguistics has been slowly broadening the scope of its research, whose emphasis was once on language teaching and learning, in order to accommodate a wider variety of projects involving other literacy processes apart from the one traditionally associated with schools, such as digital, media or literary literacies, among others. At present, it is marked by its approach to Applied Linguistics as an interdisciplinary field of research; an approach which, in view of the major shifts in sociodiscursive practices and productions occurring in our contemporary world, has been shaping a growing number of projects within the Program. Linking AL to the questions and challenges confronting us at the present historical injunction, and in view of changes currently under way in a broad range of areas, the Program's investigative approach seeks a better understanding of language use and meaning-making processes, both at micro and macro levels, operating in multiple social contexts (institutional or otherwise), and within a variety of historical settings.
Based on its view of language as a social practice, and on the assumption that by observing the ways in which language is used in a variety of performance contexts one approaches, in fact, the society and the culture that both constitute it and are constituted by it, the Graduate Studies Program has been drawing from a broad theoretical background, cutting across and combining different fields of knowledge such as Language Studies, Literature, Psychology, Education, Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, History and Philosophy, among others. Common to the different courses, research projects and methodologies participating in it is an interest in the discursive processes at play in participants' interactions and in the different sociabilities engendered by them, thus justifying the attribution to this Area of Concentration.
The faculty is made up of PhD professors of national and international insertion and full-time engagement. This adds to the Program's hybrid character, in the way research projects are shaped and objects of research are constituted, where the different domains focused (digital technologies, media discourses, literary discourses, and identity practices in contemporary contexts) help establish a rapport among various fields of studies.
As a result, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program in Applied Linguistics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro is able to accommodate a variety of research projects dealing with discourse practices in the fields of teaching and learning, instructional materials, literacies, translation, literary writing / analysis, literary performances, identity performances, cultural production, journalistic and broadcast media, digital and multimedia environments, etc.
By investing in the potential generated by theoretical-methodological crossovers and overlapping, and by fostering the development of projects situated in a variety of discourse areas, this interdisciplinary / transdisciplinary Program seeks to widen the understanding of contemporary social practices and of linguistic features embedded in them, in the belief that historical-discursive processes shape the past, the present and the future. In the implementation of this proposal, the Program sets itself a triple objective: 1) to qualify academic researchers; 2) to qualify professors seeking to work in Language and Linguistics departments, as well as in other departments that may be concerned with language issues; and 3) to provide professional qualification and training in linguistic matters for those pursuing academic work or professional careers in other fields (such as Education, Literature, Media Studies, Journalism and Communications, etc.) and who rely on the use of language (and, more than ever, of a multiplicity of languages) as a major work tool.
For these reasons, the qualification program is made up of a variety of courses in the area of discourse contemplating the study / analysis of topics such as: oral discourse, written discourse, multimodal discourses, media discourses, digital discourses, literary discourses, discourse and interaction, discourse and translation, discourse and identities, discourse and power, discourse and language teaching, and discourse and educational practices.
Interaction and Discourse
The denomination of this Area of Concentration of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program in Applied Linguistics stems from a view of discourse shared by its researchers / professors. Participating in this perspective is the understanding that it is the discursive factor which attributes meaning to signs, interactions and social relationships, as meaning-making varies according to the uses and the participants performing through language in given sociohistorical contexts. Thus, any dialogue, text or discourse, oral or written, emerges out of complex interactive, communicative and contextual circumstances, demanding interpretations that take into account the multiple functions of discourse tied to a wealth of cultural conventions that are socially and historically defined. Therefore, the Program focuses on the discursive-pragmatic dimension, approaching meaning attribution as a situated, intersubjective process, negotiated in interaction.
Discourse and Literacies
Grounded on a broad understanding of literacy as the set of meaning-making social practices which take place in social settings including, but not limited to, educational ones, this research line investigates, from a broad perspective, processes of interaction with texts (oral, written, imagistic, musical, digital etc) and of meaning-making in times of globalization, which engender complex cultural contexts (traditional and peripheral) – all of which are increasingly crisscrossed by a variety of semiotic systems – such as the classroom (both physical and long-distance), pedagogic material, teacher qualification courses, cultural communities (such as those related to samba and funk), and all kinds of digital and multimedia environments (educational and non-educational alike).
Discourse and Social Practices
Tied to the so-called "discursive-iconic turn" - term referenced to the hypersemiotization of contemporary life - the present line of research studies the various interactive and meaning-making processes (through speaking, writing, image, music, etc.) taking place in cultural settings increasingly intermeshed with a variety of semiotic systems such as classroom, family, work, the media, the medical practice, informal social and speech situations and all kinds of digital and multimedia environments. It also encompasses the study of discursive processes involving the construction of identity and alterity, frequently taking into consideration the intertwining between subjectivities and technologies present in contemporary enactments of 'self' and 'others'.
Discourse and Transculturation
This line of research considers that modern day societies are constituted by social displacements and increasingly complex cultural-linguistic settings set forth by a multitude of migratory movements, diasporas and other globalization effects. Believing this panorama to be causing us to resignify our conventional views on language and culture as enclosed, clear-cut domains, the line of research in discourse and transculturation focuses, rather, on the diversity, the crossing-over and the intertwining of discursive processes and cultural experiences. It particularly examines the ways in which discourses in the broader sense (literary, narrative, philosophical discourse, etc.) relate to the sociocultural practices of specific historical periods to which they are attached. Thus, it studies the interactive processes established with cultural-historical and linguistic alterities in instances of translation, text production and text interpretation.