Race, Gender, and Sexual Minorities in Physics: Hashtag Activism in Brazil

  • Katemari Rosa


The goal of this paper is to discuss academic climate for underrepresented groups in Brazilian physics departments. The conversation stems from looking at hate crimes happening worldwide and asking whether this hateful environment of society at large affect academic institutions. Would sexism, LGBTphobia, and racism be present in physics classrooms? Could hate speech or behavior, somehow, affect physics teaching and learning? Grounded on feminist perspectives, theories of identity, and critical race theory, the paper looks into diversity and physics education by examining the situation of race, gender, and sexual minorities in physics. Specifically, it takes on hashtag activism to analyze the experiences of students from underrepresented groups in science. The site of research is social media and the narratives produced by #MyTeacherSaid in Brazil, which was a hashtag used to reveal aggressive comments professors make to students. Results show that analyzing activism through social media can be helpful for unveiling oppressive environments in academia. Specifically, this study shows there is an oppressive climate for gender, racial, and sexual minorities Brazilian students in STEM. The comments range from subtle but harmful comments loaded with gender and race stereotypes, to open threats to students. Finally, the paper urge for a change within physics education research community to include intersectional approaches that take into account race, gender, and sexuality so that we can better understand the teaching and learning of physics, in addition to provide resources to help making more inclusive STEM environments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katemari Rosa
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal University of BahiaBahiaBrazil

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