For or Against Metaphor?
Power, History, Knowledge and Aesthetics
2nd International and Multidisciplinary Conference in Aesthetics and Poetics of Ordinary Language
24-25 May 2007
Royal Military College of Canada,
Centre for Security, Armed Forces and Society
with the participation of York University and Concordia University
Call for Papers
As far back as Antiquity, metaphor has been at the heart of discourse on language. Since then, it has attracted the attention of literary critics, philosophers, historians and linguists. Numerous approaches and interpretations from various disciplines have attempted to make sense of the nature, role and function of this important stylistic device. Nietzsche, Bachelard, Jakobson, Cassirer, Sontag and Ricoeur, among others, have reflected, with varying results, on the impact of metaphor in the production of meaning.
Dictionaries do not take into account metaphorical meaning, notwithstanding, according to Ricoeur, its pervasive presence in language. Nevertheless, an aporia of metaphor is embedded in social discourse, far beyond poetic contexts. Echoing positions taken by Plato and Aristotle on metaphor and, therefore, on aesthetics, this aporia seems to reside in an ambivalence characterized, on the one hand, by a constant devaluation of this figure of speech and, on the other hand, by its continual use, not to say its overestimation. Indeed, if it is as much a part of the adornment of language as of its degradation – witness the case of discriminatory discourse - does metaphor have a value of its own? Today's truth, tomorrow's metaphor, claims Nietzsche. Can there be, however, the "truth of metaphor"? What is the importance of metaphor and what role does it play in the creation, transformation and subversion of meaning? Can we speak of the power of metaphor? If so, what does this power consist of and how does it become trivialized?
This conference wishes to investigate these questions by inviting researchers in social sciences to analyze the ambiguous function of metaphor in non-literary fields (philosophical, historical, military, political, legal, media, scientific, medical, etc.) with a view to uncover elements which would constitute a "poetics" of everyday language as opposed to the language of aesthetics.
The resulting analyses, in line with those from applied literature, will bring us closer to an understanding of the aesthetic foundation of the key concepts and values of language: truth, power, justice, knowledge, etc. Proposals that aim to explore theoretical approaches and those that focus on case studies from a particular or contemporary perspective will be considered. Will also be considered proposals dealing with literary criticism discourse, those addressing social discourse and its issues of power, knowledge and their concrete manifestations, and those studying the same aspects in the language of literary works.
- Metaphor and the production of value and prejudice in social discourse;
- The trafficking of metaphor in political speech;
- Military speech: metaphor in peacetime and wartime;
- Metaphor and the construct of historical truth;
- The epistemological value of metaphor in science;
- The place of metaphor in the popularization of science;
- The therapeutic use of metaphor in medical discourse;
- Metaphor in legal (cultural) speech: poetics of justice;
- The function of metaphor in the media (journalism and advertisement);
- Metaphor and poetics of life narratives;
- Metaphor and the philosophical thought on language and reality;
- Metaphor in literature, film, theatre, and art discourse;
Proposals for papers, in French or in English, must include an abstract of 300 words, accompanied by a title, and coordinates (name, position, university, department, etc.). The organizing committee must receive proposals by 31 November 2006.
Royal Military College of Canada
Important: The committee is also accepting proposals for articles on the same subject. The selected articles will be included in the collective published after the conference. Priority will be given to papers presented at the conference and selected by the committee. Proposals for papers must be sent before 31 November 2006. The selection committee will send letters of acceptance before 1 January 2007.
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