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Languages of Emotion: Translations & Transformations Collaboratory

Durer 500 x 250

Albrecht Dürer: 'Alberti Dvreri pictoris et architecti praestantissimi De vrbibvs...,' 1535. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Purchased with income from the Jacob S. Rogers Fund.

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Plenary speakers:

  • Professor Anna Wierzbicka (Linguistics Program, ANU).  Professor Anna Wierzbicka is particularly well-known for her classic book, Semantic Primitives, in which she launched the theory of Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM). NSM is now internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading theories of language and meaning. More recently, Professor Wierzbicka has worked extensively on the semantic bases of emotions language and terminology. She has published over twenty books, including Emotions Across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and Universals (CUP 1999). Her latest book is Imprisoned in English: The Hazard of English as a Default Language (OUP 2014).
  • Dr. Naama Cohen-Hanegbi (Tel Aviv University).  Dr. Cohen-Hanegbi has published extensively on emotions and emotion terminology, particularly in medieval medical texts.  Two of her recent articles deal with ' Pain and Emotion: The Role of Emotional Pain in Fifteenth-Century Italian Medicine and Confession',  and 'The Emotional Body of Women: Medical Practice between the 13th and 15th Centuries'.   She has been nominated as an Early Career Researcher Distinguished Fellow of CHE (2014-2015).
  • Dr. Javier E. Diaz Vera, Department of Modern Philology, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, will lead a plenary workshop on detecting and analysing emotions terminology and images in medieval texts.  Dr. Diz-Vera's major monograph Metaphor and Metonymy across Time and Cultures: Perspectives on the Sociohistorical Linguistics of Figurative Language will appear in 2014.  He has also published widely on the terminology and representation of emotions and senses from Anglo-Saxon texts to Shakespeare, including articles such as 'Emotions beyond the text: Applying multimodal corpus methodology to the study of Old English emotion expressions' (forthcoming, 2014), 'Reconstructing the Old English Cultural Model for Fear' (Atlantis, 2011),  and 'Infected affiances: metaphors of the word JEALOUSY in Shakespeare's plays' (2012).

About the Collaboratory: Granted that the terms for 'emotions', let alone the definitions of what constitutes an emotion, vary from culture to culture and over time, one of the most difficult and intriguing problems in the history of emotions is how to interpret these variations and draw out their significance for modern analysis.  This collaboratory will address particularly the question of cultural variation and historical evolution of the terminologies of emotion in pre-modern Europe.  What terms were available for expressing or describing emotions, and what did people mean by them?  How were emotions terms translated between different pre-modern European languages, and where were such differences highlighted and explored by pre-modern authors -- not just lexicographers, but also perhaps philosophers, diplomats, travel writers, and others)?  How did the use of emotions terms vary between different genres and registers? Consideration might be given to scientific and medical literature, theology, devotional literature, fiction, correspondence, even visual arts. And finally, how do we, as modern researchers, best 'translate' these terms for our own understanding and analysis?