Speakers

Domi Dessaix

Domi Dessaix is a PhD candidate in the School of Philosophy at The Australian National University.  Her main areas of interest are the philosophy of cognitive science and mind, and the philosophy of linguistics. Domi’s PhD thesis defends a kind of Language of Thought proposal based on Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM), wherein the NSM semantic primes are proposed to be in some sense basic to our cognition. In connection with this project, she is also interested in the extent to which both universal and language-specific features of languages tell us about speakers’ cognition more generally.


Nigel Fabb

Nigel Fabb is Professor of Literary Linguistics at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland). He has a BA in literature (Cambridge), and a PhD in linguistics (MIT). He was editor of the Journal of Linguistics from 1997 to 2014, and is the author of ten books, including a descriptive grammar of the Sudanic language Màdi, and four books on linguistics as applied to literature. The most recent of these also links poetry to the psychology of working memory. He currently has a Leverhulme Fellowship (2014–2017) to study epiphanies from psychological and literary linguistic perspectives.


Paola Fortis

Paolo Fortis is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Durham University (UK). Through his long-term ethnographic research with Guna people from the San Blas archipelago of Panama he has studied their visual, material and shamanic system. On this topic he has authored a monograph, Kuna Art and Shamanism (University of Texas Press, 2013), and a number of articles and book chapters. More recent work includes the exploration of Guna historicity and socio-cultural change through looking at material and social processes that instantiate a particular aesthetics. The aim is to devise analytic categories to engage with the changing social and cultural worlds of indigenous peoples.


Maya Haviland

Maya Haviland is Lecturer in Museum Anthropology at the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at The Australian National University. Her current research focuses on co-creativity and the dynamics of collaboration in the cultural sector, creative practices in collaborative anthropology, and the role of community arts in cultural and historical research and community development. She has undertaken collaborative research and facilitated a variety of collaborative photography, video, writing and visual art projects in the Kimberley region of North Western Australia, in the USA, Mexico and most recently in Vanuatu. She and her partner Brad Riley are currently editing a documentary about the Vanuatu Cultural Centres Fieldworker Network – examining its role in cultural documentation and cultural revival. Her recent book Side by Side? Community Art and the Challenge of Co-Creativity (Routledge) was published in 2017. 


Howard Morphy

Howard Morphy is an Emeritus Professor at The Australian National University. He is an anthropologist who has moved thoughout his career between museums and universities. He is currently completing a book on the relationships between museums and source communities, and researching the dialogical nature of the relationship between figuration and abstraction in art. His most recent book is Becoming Art: Exploring Cross Cultural Categories (Berg, 2008).


Frances Morphy

Frances Morphy has degrees in anthropology and linguistics, and is an Honorary Associate Professor at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at The Australian National University. Her recent research has addressed, broadly, problems of ‘translation’ across difference, focusing on Indigenous Australian organisations as sites of articulation with the state and on a critique of the the silences and distortions imposed on remote Indigenous populations by conventional demographic definitions of categories such as ‘residence’, ‘family’, ‘household’, and ‘work’. She is co-editor (with Bill Arthur) of the Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia: Culture and Society Through Space and Time (Macquarie, 2005).


Maïa Ponsonnet

After training in philosophy of language and knowledge at Paris 8-Saint-Denis (Philosophy PhD, 2005), Maïa Ponsonnet also trained as a linguist and obtained a PhD in Linguistics from The Australian National University in 2014. Her linguistic research deals with the semantics of knowledge and internal states, focusing in particular on emotions and expressivity in language. Maïa specialises in Australian Indigenous languages from Top End (Northern Territory), where she conducts yearly field-work in several remote Aboriginal communities on Dalabon, Kriol, and other languages of the Gunwinyguan region. She is the author of a monograph entitled The Language of Emotions: The Case of Dalabon (Benjamins, 2014). 


Eva Schultze-Berndt

Eva Schultze-Berndt is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Manchester, UK; she received her PhD from the University of Nijmegen in 2000. Her research interests include the typology of parts of speech, lexical semantics, language contact phenomena, the methodology of language documentation, and the interface of syntactic characteristics and functional categories in spoken language, in particular information structure. For over two decades she has conducted fieldwork-based research in Australia on the Western Mirndi languages Jaminjung, Ngaliwurru and Nungali, the Ngumpin (Pama-Nyungan) language Ngarinyman, and Northern Australian Kriol.


Jane Simpson

Jane Simpson is Chair of Indigenous Linguistics and Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language based at The Australian National University. She studies the structure and use of several Australian Aboriginal languages: Warumungu, Kaurna and Warlpiri.  She is currently working on digital assemblages of linked text and audio-visual material from these languages. She has worked on maintenance of Indigenous languages in the Tennant Creek area, and a longitudinal study of Aboriginal children acquiring creoles, English and traditional languages. 


Diane Smith

Diane Smith is an anthropologist with over 40 years’ fieldwork and research experience working with Indigenous Australian groups and organisations in remote, rural and urban locations. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow and HDR Program Manager at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, The Australian National University. Diane has published widely on issues of Indigenous social organisation, family life, governance, native title and land rights. She was Chief Investigator of the ground-breaking Australian Indigenous Community Governance Research Project, is a board member of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, and wrote the learning content for the Indigenous Governance Toolkit — a web-based resource that supports Indigenous peoples’ efforts to build self-determined governance.


Daniel Stoljar

Daniel Stoljar is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at The Australian National University, and current President of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. His research interests include the Philosophy of Mind, of Cognition, and of Language. He is the author of Ignorance and Imagination: The Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness (OUP, 2006), and editor (with Declan Smithies) of Introspection and Consciousness (OUP, 2012. Daniel is presently Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council Discovery project  ‘The Language of Consciousness’ (with David Chalmers).


Luke Taylor

Luke Taylor is an anthropologist who has worked in western Arnhem Land since 1981. His primary research with Kunwinjku speaking artists was published in 1996 in the monograph Seeing the Inside:  Bark Painting in Western Arnhem Land (Clarendon Press). Luke prepared the first edition of the National Aboriginal Artists Biographical Database published electronically by Discovery Media. He was a Senior Curator at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra from 1991 to 2000, and Director of Research and then Deputy Principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra in the period 2000–2013. 


Matt Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is an Associate Professor at The Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific. He conducts research on language, Christianity, and politics in Oceania. His most recent publications are the coedited volumes New Mana: Transformations of a Classic Concept in Pacific Languages and Cultures (with Ty P. Kāwika Tengan, ANU Press, 2016) and The Monologic Imagination (with Julian Millie, Oxford University Press, 2017).


Myfany Turpin

Myfany Turpin is a linguist and ethnomusicologist at the University of Sydney. She specialises in languages and music of central Australia and has published on song and ethnobiology. She has also compiled a dictionary of the central Australian language Kaytetye. She currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship to investigate the relationship between words and music in Aboriginal song-poetry.


James W. Underhill

James W. Underhill was born in Glasgow in 1967. He is Full Professor and lectures on Literature, Poetics, and Translation at Rouen University in Northern France. He has worked as a full-time translator of French and Czech, and published poems in translation from French and German. Underhill's work on worldview and language focuses on both linguistic constraints at a deeper level, and the essential creative impulse by which individuals stimulate the shared language of the community. He is the author of Humboldt, Worldview, and Language (Edinburgh University Press, 2009), Creating Worldviews: Ideology, Metaphor and Language (Edinburgh University Press, 2011), Ethnolinguistics and Cultural Concepts: Truth, Love, Hate and War (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and Voice and Versification in Translating Poems (Ottawa University Press, 2017).

The Rouen Ethnolinguistics Project (REP) was founded by James W. Underhill at the University of Rouen, in Northern France. REP aims to further investigations into the philosophy of language and explorations of worldviews by organizing conferences and putting videoconferences online. You can find out more about the project at rep.univ-rouen.fr


Anna Wierzbicka

Anna Wierzbicka is a Professor (Emerita) of Linguistics at The Australian National University. Her work spans a number of disciplines, including anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy and religious studies as well as linguistics. Her latest books are Imprisoned in English (Oxford University Press, 2014), and Words and Meanings (with Cliff Goddard, OUP, 2014). Together with Cliff Goddard, Anna created the ‘Natural Semantic Metalanguage’, based on the empirically established intersection of all sampled natural languages. The central hypothesis is that this metalanguage corresponds to the innate and universal ‘lingua mentalis’; and that this metalanguage can serve as a conceptual lingua franca for explaining meanings and ideas across languages and cultures.


Diana Young

Diana Young is a scholar, writer, educator and curator. Her research is concerned with visual and material culture. She has established ongoing research relationships with Anangu in central Australia. She has been researching colour and colours since the 1990s. She has several forthcoming publications on colour including an edited volume Rematerializing Colour: From Concept to Substance (Sean Kingston Publishing), and a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Beauty on colour palettes and periodicity. Diana lectures in anthropology at the University of Queensland where she is also the Director of the UQ Anthropology Museum. Among the 16 exhibitions that has directed, curated or co-curated is, In the Red; on the Vibrancy of Things (2012) which was about transformative and analogical colour in museum objects.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

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