English 785C, Metaphor; Spring 1997 Wednesday, 9:00-12:00

Randy Harris

Hagey Hall 247, x5362
Home phone (Milton): (905) 876-3972
E-mail: raha@watarts
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 2:00-5:00.
Course epitome
We will look at metaphor. But metapors are bigger, more pervasive, and considerably more tricky than traditional theories suggest. Our orientation will be cognitive–-metaphors not as a stylistic overlay, but as elements of thought and knowledge.

Evaluation will depend on four components: participation in discussions; a class presentation on a conceptual metaphor; a class presentation on your paper; and the paper.

Required texts
Course reader (Graphic services)
Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors we live by
Johnson, The body in the mind
Recommended text
Lakoff and Turner, More than cool reason
Job description
Class Participation 25%
Presentation–Empirical 25%
Presentation–Essay 15%
Paper (due 31 July) 25%
You are welcome to collaborate with classmates on any of the
Draconian rules
No late assignments will be accepted, no extensions will be granted, and no incompletes will be awarded, without very strong reasons.

7 May
Hello; how are you?
14 May
Metaphor through the ages
21 May
Metaphor through the ages
28 May
Metaphor through the ages
4 June
Conceptual metaphors
Lakoff & Johnson
11 June
Conceptual metaphors
18 June
25 June
2 July
Metaphor and rationality
9 July
Metaphor and rationality
16 July
Metaphor and rationality
23 July
30 July
So long and thanks for the fish


Please keep in mind that this is a seminar: you are expected to take an active role in the course. I will use a merit/demerit policy to evaluate your participation.

Merit will be awarded primarily on the quality of participation: asking relevant questions; making relevant observations; complementing or developing someone elseâs contribution; and generally being a constructive member of the class. Quantity of participation is a positive factor to the extent that lots of quality contributions are preferable to a few quality contributions. Demerit will be assessed reluctantly, and only on the basis of repeated instances. The grounds for the demerit system are: absenteeism (you canât participate if youâre not there); whispering or chatting while other people are talking (or, especially, while other people are giving presentations); or making lengthy, unfocused comments that draw away from the general thread of discussion.

Both presentations will be evaluated equally on what and on how you present.

Empirical Go out and bag a conceptual metaphor. Report on its geneology and natural habitat. Speculate wildly.

Essay By this point in the course, you sould have a sense of what your paper is going to concern. Youâre welcome to talk with me, to other classmates, and to the seminar in general at any appropriate time, about your paper plans. But this presentation will be a more formal account of what youâre thinking about and where you might take it.

Paper Your paper should be an original contribution to the literature on metaphors: write it with the intent to publish, and submit it with a memo indicating which journal you think it best suits (and why). Your topic and area are completely up to you, but it must be original to the field in which you wish to publish (literary criticism or theory, rhetorical criticism or theory, technical communication, ...).

The bridge
Here's a metaphor for you, and this is one we have to forge in the class itself; Hawkes has a largely literary perspective, Buck a largely rhetorical perspective; neither concern professional communication. The two readings that provide the central orientation of the course (both involving Johnson) are outside all of these traditions. Building whatever Îbridgesâ we can–in discussion, in presentation, and in your final work–depends on exploring the cognitive basis of metaphor in the discourse of these fields.