Metaphor, from the Greek metapherin, or transfer, has become central to multidisciplinary inquiries in language and cognition. This panel invites submissions that explore the implications of recent arguments concerning the metaphorical nature of human language and cognition for anthropology.
Multidisciplinary studies in language and cognition have argued for decades that the metaphorical nature of human language is a symptom of the fundamentally metaphorical nature of human cognition. For centuries metaphor, from the Greek metapherin, or transfer, was primarily the purview of rhetorical, literary, and most recently linguistic study. What are the implications for anthropology of recent arguments concerning the metaphorical nature of language? How does language move our minds, frame our conceptions, and animate our realities? How does human language, as a symbolic system always in motion, inhibit or undermine ideological attempts to fix cultural paradigms and practices? How do human beings construct stable realities (or the illusion thereof?) from fluid forms and semantic values? This panel encourages the submission of papers concerning language in motion and as motion. In the face of literacy, urbanization, and programs of national identity, languages have changed, with outcomes from standardization to creolization to language death. How do people innovate linguistically in situations where they called on to extend and change cultural paradigms and practices? As they construct new syntheses of past and present, what kinds of stories do people tell about themselves, their histories, and their futures, and how do they use use new media to tell those stories? Finally, what role do artists play in both perpetuating existing structures of meaning and extending language?