Research Group for Medieval Philology
International Workshop

Conceptual Metaphors and Body Symbolism

An international and interdisciplinary two-day workshop on conceptual metaphors and body symbolism.

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This workshop about metaphors and body symbolism will bring together researchers from Bergen, Prague, Oxford and Yale. The participants will give talks from diverse perspectives and disciplines, including history of religions, comparative mythology, linguistics, semiotics, psychology, law, and philosophy, and present case studies from various cultures – Ancient Egypt, India, Greece and medieval as well as modern Europe. Each of them will give their perspective on how the image of human body is metaphorically used in culture, what function it fulfils, how the meanings are condensed and transformed, and how we can understand and describe it today within our scholarly discourse. The comparison of diverse fields and case studies should lead to a formulation of similarities, differences, and certain recurrent principles. 

Guests, especially those working on the topic of metaphors, are welcome to join the sessions and take part in the discussions. Discussions will be the core of the workshop, as each 20-minute talk will be followed by 30 minutes of discussion. 

The workshop will take place at the SVT UiB, Parkveien 9 (https://www.uib.no/en/svt). 

For more information contact Jan Kozák. 



Thursday, 9 May

8:15 – 8:30     Meeting up (PARKVEIEN 9)

8:30 – 9:00     Welcoming Address by Jan Kozák and Jens Eike Schnall: Overview of the Programme


Session I: Introductory and Comparative

9:00 – 9:45     Jan Kozák (Bergen): Conceptual Metaphor, Analogic Thinking and Body Symbolism

10:00 – 10:45  Jens Eike Schnall (Bergen): The Body Politic and Conceptual Metaphor

11:00 – 11:45   Barbora Sojková (Oxford): Talking Heads

Lunch break


Session II: Medieval Myth and Religion

13:00 – 13:45  Marie Novotná (Prague): Was Berserk a Bear?

14:00 – 14:45  Eldar Heide (Bergen): Sexual Metaphors Conveying the Essence of Old Norse Mythology?

15:00 – 15:45  Jiří Dynda (Prague): Body and Corporeality in the Slavic Anthropogonic Narratives

16:00 – 16:30  Presentation of the research groups in Bergen, MSCA and other networking possibilities.


Friday, 10 May

Session III: The Cultures of Antiquity

9:00 – 9:45      Jørgen Bakke (Bergen): Imaging Bodies in Ancient Greek Culture

10:00 – 10:45  Evelyne Koubková (Yale): Resounding Bodies

11:00 – 11:45  Martin Pehal (Prague): The Wor(l)d is an Image: Bodily Metaphors and Graphic Puns in Ancient Egypt

Lunch break


Session IV: Beyond Religion – Philosophy, Psychiatry, Law

13:00 – 13:45  Rasmus T. Slaattelid (Bergen): Metaphors of the Labyrinth in Philosophy

14:00 – 14:45  Helga Mannsåker (Bergen): The Role of Metaphor in Psychiatric Nomenclature and Discourse

15:00 – 15:45   Helen Leslie (Bergen): The Eyes of Justice: Morality and Body Metaphors in English Legal Texts

16:00 – 16:45  Concluding Discussion and Reflection: Similarities and Diversities