Sexual harassment is a social issue in the U.S. and around the world that is gaining more attention, especially with the popularity of social movements such as #MeToo and #Timesup. People usually attempt to frame their positions in sexual harassment narratives using a wide range of strategies, which show insidious ideologies and power imbalances ingrained in the culture of a specific community. The current study investigates sexual harassment through data from the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for two nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. The two nominees were accused of sexual harassment by two professors: Anita Hill and Christine Ford, respectively. The purpose of this study is to tap into the discrepancy between arguments based on gender, how ideologies and power are reflected and how arguments may have changed over this period of time. Using the discourse-historical approach (DHA), the study critically examines the statements for argumentation strategies, references and predications. It also compares the discursive strategies employed by the two males and females and the impact of such strategies. The analysis reveals some similarities between the linguistic choices of both judges in the argumentation strategies represented in the use of some topoi and fallacies. In contrast, the arguments constructed by the two professors only contained topoi. Another difference in the statements is in the metaphoric use between the males and females. The study concludes that the similarities and differences between the two cases show that there is an evidence of subtle ideology and power imbalances that could be based on gender despite the time difference between the two incidents.
Applied Linguistics Department
MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
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(2020).Sexual harassment gender, power, ideology and time: A case study of the Hill-Thomas and Ford-Kavanaugh Senate Hearings [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Mohamed, Salah. Sexual harassment gender, power, ideology and time: A case study of the Hill-Thomas and Ford-Kavanaugh Senate Hearings. 2020. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.