Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Ever Present Presence of the Spoken Word

The more I read in cognitive studies, the more I find that Ong was already there, working with ideas and theories that cognitive studies is now exploring or finding to be true. Let me juxtapose two snippets I've come across in the past few days, one from Ong's "Comment: Voice, Print, and Culture" (The Journal of Typographic Research 4.1 (1970): 77-83), which expresses a common Ongian theme, and one from Jeanne Fahnestock's "Rhetoric in the Age of Cognitive Science" (The Viability of the Rhetorical Tradition. Ed. Richard Graff, Arthur E. Walzer, and Janet M. Atwill. Albany: State U of New York P, 2005. 159-179):

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

On Language and Thought

Mixing Memory has a repost on cognitive science's return to linguistic relativity.

Over the last decade or so, however, cognitive scientists have been revisiting linguistic relativity (linguistic determinism is probably gone for good). They've discovered that language does in fact constrain the way we perceive and conceptualize a wide variety of things, including time, space, number, events, and perhaps even color (see this article for a short and accessible summary of some of the research, along with a nice reference section). In 2003, a collection of essays describing much of the research on linguistic relativity was published under the title Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought. It's an excellent book (and it includes a chapter by Michael Tomasello, for those of you who are in the reading group), presenting many interesting ideas and experiments. I highly recommend it for people who are interested in the topic. To give you a taste, I thought I'd post on one chapter ["Sex, Syntax, and Semantics"], which I chose both because I find it very interesting, and because the chapter is available, in its entirety, online.

The full post provides a summary of Lera Boroditsky, Lauren Schmidt, and Webb Phillips' "Sex, Syntax, and Semantics," which is linked to above.

As I've stated many times before, much of Ong's own work is rooted in an understanding that language use can give us insights into cognition, dating back to his dissertation work. As he explains it, while working in the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, he came across Rudolph Bultmann's reference to the idea that knowing was located in terms of hearing and sound for the ancient Hebrews and in terms of seeing and vision for the ancient Greeks.

Cross posted to Machina Memorialis.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

CFP: Orality and Literacy 2.0 (1 December 2006; CW 2007)

And, finally, the 25th anniversary of Orality and Literacy CFP for the Computers and Writing 2007.

CFP: Orality and Literacy 2.0: Orality-Literacy Contrasts and the Next 25 Years

As you may know, I've organizing conference sessions for both the upcoming MLA and CCCC to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of Walter J. Ong's Orality and Literacy (1982-2007). I'd like to finish this celebration off with one or two sessions at Computers and Writing 2007 (Wayne State University, 17-20 May 2007), centered around the theme "Orality and Literacy 2.0: Orality-Literacy Contrasts and the Next 25 Years." Since Orality and Literacy is itself broad in scope, I want to keep the list of possible topics broad as well. Potential topics include:

  • classification and folksonomy

  • digital culture

  • digital literacies

  • digital rhetoric

  • digital textuality

  • digital writing

  • digitization

  • ecological approaches to culture, knowledge, and technology (including but not limited to information ecology and media ecology)

  • embodied cognition

  • hermeneutics in the digital era

  • materiality and media

  • media dynamics

  • medium theory

  • memory

  • network theory

  • oralism

  • the organization of the sensorium in its relation to media

  • performance studies

  • phenomenology and noetics

  • texts and/as technology

  • visualism and visual culture

While Orality and Literacy's 25th anniversary is the occasion for the session(s), presentations need not adhere closely to that text, although familiarity with Ong's work on orality-literacy contrasts and a nod to those works would be appropriate. What I am particularly interested in is the state of orality-literacy contrasts now and possibilities for the future. Although not required, I would also like to include some presentations which make specific connections with the conference theme of Virtual Urbanism.

For more more information about the Computers and Writing 2007 and the conference theme, please see the conference web site, and those interested in learning more about Ong's work on orality-literacy contrasts may find my bibliography of use.

Please send inquiries and abstracts (no more than 300 words) by December 1, 2006 to John Walter walterj[at]slu[dot]edu.

If you or someone you know may be interested in participating, I’m more than happy to discuss suggested topics and exchange ideas as the proposals are being drafted.

I’ve set the submission deadline early enough (December 1) so that if I don't include someone’s paper, they’ll have more than enough time to work up and submit another proposal to the conference if they wish.

Cross posted to Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archive