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seminars > spring 2013 schedule > seminar: Words through Space and Time


Honors Seminars Spring 2013

Words through Space and Time

HON 296 Sec:001  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives; Social Sciences; Global Knowledge  
1145 - 1300  
Clark Hall 205  
Dr. Tiffany L. Kershner
Adjunct Teaching Assistant Professor and Coordinator for Distinguished Scholarships and Fellowships
Restrictions: N/A  

Different cultures differentiate and frame events in various ways. At the heart of conceptual events are WORDS, essentially an inventory of the ways a particular group of people depict and understand the interactions they have with each other and with the world around them. Over generations, cultures of the world have accumulated knowledge of their environment and their world through their words, specifically, through the naming of plants, animals, landmarks, and experiences. An individual's language is, in one sense, a repository of indigenous wisdom about their environment and worldview. In this course, we will examine the interrelations between humans and their world by focusing on a culture's lexical inventory. In particular, we will explore how humans recognize, name, and classify living and nonliving things in their environment from a cognitive and symbolic perspective. In addition, we will explore whether or not a culture's language influences one's perceptions of reality. For example, does a culture's lexical inventory channel their thoughts in particular ways? Through a detailed examination of lexical phenomena in cultures around the world, we will become familiar with the ways in which language and culture interact, the extent to which these surface in our everyday lives, and the explanations proposed by various fields (anthropology, linguistics, biology, psychology, cognitive science) for their existence.