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Elena Mattei is a PhD candidate in Digital Humanities for English Studies at the University of Verona (SSD: L-LIN/12). Her research interests focus on the collection, annotation and analysis of tourism multimodal corpora on social media, with particular attention to Visual Design and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) theories.
Her DH project focuses on carrying out a multidisciplinary investigation into tourism boards' multimodal communication strategies through both quantitative and qualitative methods, with particular focus on text-image relationships in the digital promotion of the traveling experience. Multimodal data were collected from Instagram accounts and official websites in order to compile different corpora. Her work includes the systematic, manual annotation of multimodal corpora and the statistical measurement of visual and linguistic strategies. A SFL-based, intersemiotic theoretical framework allowed for the detection of patterns of material regularities, which reflect new socio-semiotic, generic trends in the discourse semantics and legitimization strategies of digital tourism narratives. Her thesis wishes also to emphasize the importance of data-driven multimodal research in the burgeoning field of Digital Humanities from a methodological, sociological, and multisemiotic perspective.
She has published in the class A journal Iperstoria and in DH venues, and holds workshops on empirical research. She has also presented her research at various international conferences and is coediting a volume on the multidisciplinary doctoral conference she co-organized at the University of Verona in 2021. She is also collaborating with her co-supervisor, John A. Bateman, and with the scientific committee of the Master “English for International Business and Global Affairs” at the University of Verona. She is currently teaching a Digital Humanities course and in the postgraduate course “English for the World of Work”.
In the future, she would like to investigate how the capitalist, romantic gaze of the postmodern traveler and tourists’ contemporary desire for exclusivity in the uncontaminated nature may be leveraged by discourse specialists to cultivate environmental awareness and promote sustainable behavior, in an attempt to reverse consumerism and the ecological crisis. She would like, in this sense, to create a Grammar of multimodal eco-discourse.
PhD supervisor: Prof. Sharon Hartle. PhD co-supervisor: Prof. John A. Bateman (Professor of English Applied Linguistics, PhD in Artificial Intelligence)
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