Workshop on Cognitive Allegory

This site serves two general purposes. One is to provide a record of the 26 June, 2009, Cognitive Allegory Workshop, held in Siegfried Hall, at St. Jerome's University, an affiliated university of the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Most of the materials on this site (many of them developed prior to the workshop, to prepare and coordinate the participants) document the programme, abstract the position papers, introduce the participants, and the like. The other purpose is to further the mission of that workshop—to explore the ways in which allegory is cognitive, and to spark further research.

The Workshop

... was a one-day, inter- and multi-disciplinary workshop on the cognitive underpinnings of allegory, bringing together medievalists who work specifically on allegorical texts with rhetoricians, literary theorists, psychologists, and philosophers who focus on representations of knowledge. It was supported by the Department of English, the Cognitive Science Program, the Medieval Studies Program at St. Jerome's University, the Faculty of Arts, and the University of Waterloo, with special funding for the appearance of Peter Crisp by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Special Issue of Metaphor & Symbol

Several papers that developed out of the workshop were published in a special issue of Metaphor & Symbol (March 2011). Paul's and Ray's keynote addresses are included, as well as papers by Curtis & Madeleine and Todd & Peter, and an introduction by Randy & Sarah, who edited the issue. The special issue is dedicated to the memory of Jim Paxson.

James J. Paxson, in memoriam

Jim Paxson, whose work (especially his Poetics of Personification) helped inspire the workshop, and who was slated to be a panelist, was not able to come to Waterloo. He was also unable to complete an article he was working on for the special issue. Very sadly, he passed away on 2 February 2011. Visit his Facebook memorial.

About the Workshop

Photos from the workshop.
Download the workshop poster (pdf).
Please read the important note about workshop format.

Special talks related to the workshop

A number of sponsored talks were scheduled around the Cognitive Allegory Workshop.

The UW Department of English Language and Literature presented a public lecture by Mary Thomas Crane, of Boston College. The lecture, entitled Analogy, Metaphor, & the New Science: Cognitive Science and Early Modern Epistemology, was on Thursday, 25 June, at 7:00 PM, 3014 St. Jerome’s University. Click here to learn more, download the poster, or listen to the talk.

The UW Programme in Cognitive Science presented a public lecture by Raymond W. Gibbs Jr., of The University of California, Santa Cruz. The lecture, entitled Embodiment in Metaphorical Imagination, was on Thursday, 25 June, at 1:00pm, PAS 1229. Click here to learn more, download the poster, or listen to the talk.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong presented an open class with Peter Crisp, of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, on Wednesday, 24 June, from 9:00am - 12:00pm, in Dana Porter Library, Room 329, the FLEX Lab. Crisp discussed his pioneering studies on the cognitive dimensions of allegory. Click here to learn more or download the poster.

Keynote addresses

Paul Thagard gave the opening address, entitled The Brain is Wider than the Sky: Cognition, Emotion, and Allegory; listen to it here.

Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., gave the closing address, entitled The Allegorical impulse; listen to it here.