At MTSU: Obama vs. Trump in cyberspace

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MURFREESBORO -- A topical twist pits Barack Obama against Donald Trump in cyberspace in the next MTSU Women's and Gender Studies Research Series lecture.

Roberta Chevrette, an assistant professor of communication studies, will present "Bros Before Donald Trump: Bromance, Race, Masculinity and Nation in the #BROTUS Memes" at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in Room 100 of MTSU's James Union Building.

Collaborating with Chris Duerringer, an associate professor of communication studies at California State University-Long Beach, Chevrette collected more than 250 memes from the Twitter hashtag #BROTUS. The acronym is a takeoff on POTUS, which stands for President of the United States.

"The #BROTUS tweets featured a series of humorous memes depicting then-President Obama and Vice President Biden engaged in chummy conversation, jokes and pranks targeting the incumbent President Trump," Chevrette said.

By analyzing the rhetoric of the #BROTUS memes, Chevrette and Duerringer examined how the Obama-Biden "bromance" offered a way for disappointed voters who supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to console themselves.

In so doing, Chevrette said, the creators of #BROTUS hoped to solidify the liberal base while rejecting the racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and homophobia that Trump's opponents associate with both his campaign and his presidency. However, Chevrette and Duerringer found that the memes fell short of this goal.

"By examining the links between masculinity, civility, nation and whiteness in the #BROTUS memes, our analysis reveals the limits of progressive aims that remain tied to the ideological structures underpinning the U.S. nation-state," Chevrette said.

For more information, contact Katie Foss, an associate professor of journalism, at 615-494-7747 or or the Women & Gender Studies program at 615-898-5910 or

Off-campus visitors attending the event should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU's Office of Parking and Transportation at

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