The course uses the notion of metaphor to approach questions of meaning and interpretation. It reviews various theories that have been applied to figurative language, presents the identification and analysis of metaphor as a tool in the study of texts of all kinds and introduces approaches which see the study of metaphor as a key to understanding human cognition and experience. The course shows how questions about metaphor are at the heart of debates about meaning and interpretation across the humanities and social sciences, and illustrates the role of metaphor in fundamental ideological discussions. It will equip students to analyze a range of texts in terms of metaphor and give them a grounding in longstanding debates about meaning and interpretation. Students will examine interpretative controversies in relation to meaning and metaphor in a range of text genres and in relation to topics such as: religion; literature; law; on-line speech; ecology.
Definitions of metaphor; literal vs. metaphorical meaning; metaphor and metonymy; metaphor, politics, & ideology; meaning and metaphor in domains such as literature, law, religion, ecology.
- to identify metaphors in a sample sentence or text;
- to gain a grasp of the basic terminology in the domain to figurative language;
- to understand how issues of meaning and metaphor are key to contemporary debates in domains such as politics, law, ecology, literature; to analyze and evaluate interpretative controversies involving meaning and metaphor.
The course will comprise lectures, seminars, and class activities. The third lecture hour will be used for smaller group teaching, class exercises and discussion, and student presentations.
100% coursework consisting of:
- Mid-term short project and presentation (40%)
- Individual essay (60%)
There is no textbook, but there are extensive readings available on-line and in the library on metaphor. Z. Kövecses (2010). Metaphor: A practical introduction. Oxford: OUP Press is available as an e-book through the library. Additional readings will be uploaded to Moodle.