Archive for the 'metaphor' Category

Jul 05 2010

Prof. Raymond Gibbs to Deliver Final 'Cognition & Poetics' Lecture

Raymond Gibbs, University of California Santa Cruz

Raymond Gibbs, University of California Santa Cruz

Prof. Raymond Gibbs of the University of California Santa Cruz will deliver the fifth and final lecuture in the ‘Cognition & Poetics’ lecture series at the IfAA. Prof. Gibbs’ talk is entitled Embodiment in the Metaphorical Imagination. It will be held on Wednesday, 7 July at 18:00 in 41/112 (Altes Kreishaus).

One of the key discoveries in the contemporary revolution in metaphor studies is the embodied nature of metaphorical thought and language. Although metaphor is traditionally seen as a special kind of poetic language, the demonstrations from cognitive linguistics and many other disciplines that metaphor is a fundamental scheme of thought has cast metaphor in a new light within the scientific understanding of the human mind. Metaphor, far from being an ornamental aspect of language, is integral to the way people speak and think about a wide variety of human events and abstract concepts. Yet metaphor is not now just something we think by, it is a mode of being that arises from recurring patterns of embodied experience. When we talk, in English, of “My new research is off to a good start,” we do so because movement along a path is a pervasive bodily experience in everyday life that provides an ideal foundation for thinking about the more abstract idea of progress toward some abstract goal (e.g., PROGRESS TOWARD A GOAL IS MOVEMENT ALONG A PATH TOWARD A DESTINATION). Continue Reading »

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Jan 29 2010

Professor Peter Stockwell to Deliver Final ‘Cognitive Poetics’ Lecture

Professor Peter Stockwell, chair in Literary Linguistics at Nottingham University, will deliver the final lecture for this semester in the ‘Cognitive Poetics’ lecuture series. Professor Stockwell’peter_stockwells research interests include amongst others literary linguistics and stylistics, cognitive linguistics, cognitive poetics and metaphor. In his talk, he will deal with “The Texture ot Literary Emotion“.

Abstract of Professor Stockwell’s lecture:
The application of cognitive science to literary scholarship in the form of a cognitive poetics offers the opportunity for accounting for many features of literary reading that have been rendered only in vague or impressionistic terms in the past, such as discomfort, bleakness, a sense of nihilism or feelings of emptiness. In thAnnouncement_Stockwellis paper, an argument for cognitive poetics is made, with a focus on the affective and experiential phenomenon of resonance. This is modelled through cognitivist work on the field of attention and perception, to give a particularly literary-angled approach. The argument is exemplified with reference to a Shakespeare sonnet and then further demonstrated in a poem by Dylan Thomas, where the notion of a lacuna is developed to account for the familiar but impressionistic phenomenon of ‘felt absence’. The paper concludes with observations on the role of cognitive poetics in relation to cognitive science, literary criticism, and in its own right.

Cognitive Poetics Lecture Series
Lecture IV
- Thursday, February 04, 18:00
room 02/E04  (FB Kultur- und Geowissenschaften, Seminarstraße 19a/b)

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Nov 12 2009

Lecture: "Anhand der Literatur. Zu den kognitiven Voraussetzungen der Literatur"

On Wednesday, November 18th, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Lauer will give an interesting lecture about cognitive poetics in German in room 41/112. Find out more here:

Warum weinen wir um Anna Karenina, die es doch gar nicht gibt? Warum wissen schon kleine Kinder zu unterscheiden, dass Spongebob nicht in die Welt von Batman gehört, Robin dagegen schon. Macht das Lesen eines Textes mit langsam handelnden Figuren seine Leser auch langsamer? – Am kommenden Mittwoch hält der Göttinger Literaturwissenschaftler Prof. Dr. Gerhard Lauer im Kreishaus einen Vortrag, in dem er sich aus der Perspektive der Hirnforschung diesen Fragen widmet. Auf die Frage nach den kognitiven Voraussetzungen, warum uns Literatur bewegt, entwickelt er die Hypothese, dass Literatur aus den Bewegungen von Hand und Gesicht hervorgegangen sein könnte. Die interessierte Öffentlichkeit ist zum Vortrag am Mittwoch, 18.11., um 18.15 Uhr in Raum 41/112 (Kreishaus) herzlich eingeladen. Continue Reading »

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Jun 26 2009

Thursday, July 2: Talk on William Blake

William Blake remains one of most iconic, yet most misunderstood, of all the British Romantics. Kate Barush (Oxford University) will be discussing how Blake deployed radically different traditions, from medieval scribal techniques to innovations in printing and etching technologies, in order to create unique combinations of text-and-image that demanded a different kind of reading and seeing from the viewer.

Kate Barush
“Spiritual Sight and Physical Light: William Blake’s Cycles of Perception”
Thursday, July 2, 17:15
room: to be announced

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Mar 07 2009

Obama "Speaking in Tounges"

“Aren’t there by now enough articles on Obama’s rhetoric, the way he uses language and his politics on this blog?” you might wonder. Well… the answer is no – at least this one is clearly missing. It’s missing, because in her very rich paper “Speaking in Tounges“, British novilist Zadie Smith takes a very different approach to looking at the new President’s rhetoric than any of the articles so far. She takes a writer’s perspective, draws parallels to Shakespeare but also thinks about the role of race in language and discusses Mr. Obama’s ability to speak in different registers. There are too many noteworthy thoughts to quote them all, but here are two brief extracts:
Smith finds that Obama presents an astounding variety of people in his book Dreams from My Father:

Obama can do young Jewish male, black old lady from the South Side, white woman from Kansas, Kenyan elders, white Harvard nerds, black Columbia nerds, activist women, churchmen, security guards, bank tellers, and even a British man called Mr. Wilkerson [...].

Concering the use of pronouns in his speeches, she argues that

[Dream City is] the kind of town where the wise man says “I” cautiously, because “I” feels like too straight and singular a phoneme to represent the true multiplicity of his experience. Instead, citizens of Dream City prefer to use the collective pronoun “we.” Throughout his campaign Obama was careful always to say we. He was noticeably wary of “I.”  By speaking so, he wasn’t simply avoiding a singularity he didn’t feel, he was also drawing us in with him. He had the audacity to suggest that, even if you can’t see it stamped on their faces, most people come from Dream City, too. Most of us have complicated back stories, messy histories, multiple narratives.

Interestingly, George Lakoff offers, although coming from a completely different direction, somewhat similar insights into Obama’s language: both scholars emphasize the importance of empathy.

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Feb 27 2009

Obama Addresses Joint Session of Congress

President Barack Obama gave his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 24. His speech mostly dealt with the financial crisis and the gloomy economic situation of the United States and the world, but he also touched upon foreign policy issues (see full transcript).

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The theme of “empathy” that has already been visible in many of his campaign speeches reoccured in this speech, for instance when the President talked about the impact of the recession on the lifes of American citizens:

I know that for many Americans watching right now, the state of our economy is a concern that rises above all others. And rightly so. If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has — a friend; a neighbor; a member of your family. You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. It’s the worry you wake up with and the source of sleepless nights. It’s the job you thought you’d retire from but now have lost; the business you built your dreams upon that’s now hanging by a thread; the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.

Also, the President was very cirtical about the short-term orientation of many activities in his country. While talking about the reasons for the econimic crisis, he state that

our economy did not fall into decline overnight. Nor did all of our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank. We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before. The cost of health care eats up more and more of our savings each year, yet we keep delaying reform. Our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many of our schools do not prepare them for. And though all these challenges went unsolved, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before.

However, the most important goal of the speech was surely to convey a feeling of determination and confidence to the American people. The President emphasized this amongst other by asserting very early on:

We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.

Apparently, a lot a Americans were interested in what their new President had to say – more than 52m people watched it on TV.

>> Also, check out this interactive video feature.

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Feb 04 2009

Al Arabyia Interview with Barack Obama

Newly sworn-in President Barack Obama gave one of the first interviews after his inauguration to the Arabic station Al Arabyia. The interview, which seems to be part of a general effort of the new administration to make clear that it is going to persue different policies than the last one, is predominantly concerned with the peace-process in the Middle East and US-Arabic realtions. Take a look here:

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Jan 21 2009

Historic Moments: Obama Inaugurated as First African American President of the United States

After a campaign that lasted almost two years and finally saw Barack Obama as its victor, the 44th president of the United States was sworn in yesterday (January 20th). It was a historic moment for the US as well as for the world – for the first time ever, an African American holds the most powerful political office in the world. More than one million people came to the National Mall in Washington to witness the inauguration proceedings and to hear President Obama’s inaugural address. Especially many African Americans celebrated the moment that many did not believe they would live to see.

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After some small problems during the oath, President Obama’s generally well received first speech in office (transcript) had a rather serious tone – it was not as much characterized by the uplifting rhetoric that he was so popular for during the campaign but much more marked by the upcoming challenges.
With his predecessor sitting directly behind him, President Obama criticized policies and attitudes of the Bush administration on more than one occasion; for instance he said:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

Also, he presented a rather self-critical view on America:

Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

And later:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Generally, the new President called on his “fellow citizens” to believe in American ideals again and to start the “remaking of America”:

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

After he and his Vice President Joe Biden had been sworn in, the new President attended the inaugural parade and later 10 inaugural balls. Early the next day, his first complete as 44th president, Barack Obama started to work.

Check out this very interesting analysis of President Obama’s inaugural address.

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Jan 18 2009

Obama's Train Journey

On his way to the upcoming inauguration, Barack Obama took a train journey over the last days to Washington. The journey, which mirrored the one Abraham Lincoln took before his own inauguration, had several stops along the way and saw many thousand spectators. Get a first-hand impression with these videos:

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Jan 13 2009

George W. Bush's Final Presidential News Conference

On Monday, January 12, George W. Bush gave what is believed to have been his last press conference as the 43rd President of the United States. In this conference, the President admitted that he made some mistakes during his time in office but emphasized at the same time that he does not believe that the moral standing of the US was damaged by his actions. See this NY Times article for more details or watch the video below.

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