Linguistics, Literary Studies, Cultural Studies:
Work in Progress
students present work in progress or recently completed. All
presentations take place in the Conference Room located in
the university library. Each 20-minute presentation will be
followed by 10 minutes of questions and comments.
a.m – 2:30 p.m
Tagungsraum der Universitätsbibliothek, Universitätsplatz
25. Juni / Friday, June 25
| Der Wandel des Menschenbildes im England des frühen 19.Jahrhunderts:
Dickens' Kritik am Utilitarismus anhand von Hard Times
"Now, what I want is,
Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone
are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything
else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts:
nothing else will ever be of any service to them."
In einer Welt, geprägt von Kosten-Nutzenrechnungen, in der
Angebot und Nachfrage über das Bestehen und Nicht-Bestehen
von Konzernen, sozialen Einrichtungen und sogar Schulen bestimmen,
zweifeln wir einmal mehr an den Worten eines Thomas Gradgrind ein
Typus Mensch, der sich durch stumpfe Rationalität auszeichnet
und mit dem Eintritt Englands in die Industrialisierung bis in unsere
heutige Zeit zunehmend an Bedeutung gewann.
Hard Times ist Dickens' Kritik dieses nüchternen und
nutzenorientierten Menschenbildes, dessen Ursprung er in der damalig
revolutionären, utilitaristischen Philosophie begründet.
Eine derart blinde Rationalität, wie Dickens sie dem Utilitarismus
unterstellt, verderbe die menschliche Natur und sei damit Schuld
an den sozialen Missständen seiner Zeit. Die Lösung dieser
sozialen Frage könne lediglich durch das harmonische Zusammenspiel
der antagonistischen Welten von Ökonomie und Menschlichkeit
erreicht werden; und so sind "fact" und "fancy"
zwei sich fortlaufend ergänzende Theoreme seines Romans. Damit
ist Dickens ein großartiges Beispiel für die ambivalente
Stimmung, in der sich die, von der Romantik geprägten, Menschen
des industriell aufstrebenden Englands wiederfanden und die bis
zum heutigen Zeitpunkt entscheidenden Einfluss auf unser Denken
hat. Hard Times For These Times – hoffen wir, dass
es uns trotz einer immer stärkeren Gewichtung von wirtschaftlichen
Interessen und Effizienz gelingt, die Komplexität des Menschseins
nicht zu vergessen.
Hähnert | A Story, Told as Truth: Reading Hawthorne's "Wakefield"
A man leaves his wife of ten years without
reason or notification, rents an apartment in the next street from
which he spies on her life without him, only to return, unexpectedly,
one October evening twenty years later: Often described as a distinct
oddball in the Nathaniel Hawthorne canon, his tale "Wakefield,"
for the most part, has been traditionally dismissed by critics for
being technically unaccomplished. Jorge Luis Borges, however, rated
"Wakefield" even above Hawthorne's magnum opus The Scarlet
Letter. At any rate, this sparse and equally shrewd story testifies
to the great richness of the author's work. The presentation will
look into how, paradoxically, "Wakefield" is both characteristic
and atypical of Hawthorne's fiction. Moreover, it will show that
the story, with the epistemological questions that it raises and
its implicit emphasis on its own fabricatedness, brings Hawthorne
into close proximity to modernist and postmodernist metafiction.
|Eva Frey | Haunting
Visions of Women: Analyzing the Music Video for 50 Cent's "Candy
Through the looking glasses of gender
studies and cultural studies, we will scrutinize 50 Cent's "Candy
Shop." On this academic journey, we will see and analyze titillating
images of women, discover and contextualize various references to
the fine arts and explore and decode different types of women immanent
to the video's imagery. Guided by the theories of Luce Irigaray
("This Sex Which Is Not One"), John Berger (surveyor/surveyed)
and Laura Mulvey (scopophilia), we will not only gain stimulating
insights into the daunting portrayal of women as fragmented sexual
objects and, ultimately, as haunting visions. Also, they will help
us understand how the woman's body and mind are constructed by the
male gaze. A special emphasis will be placed on a reference to Johann
Heinrich Füssli's "The Nightmare" (1781) and Rodin's
"The Gates of Hell" (1880-1917). Both works offer key
insights into an understanding of the video's gothic imagery.
| Zur semantischen Neubestimmung des Identitätsbegriffs am
Im Seminar "Brauchen wir eine europäische Identität?"
(WS 2009/2010) wurden Schulbuchanalysen hinsichtlich der semantischen
Beschaffenheit von sozialen Identitäten durchgeführt.
Dabei haben wir zwischen der nationalen Identität als Beispiel
einer gruppalen Zugehörigkeitssemantik und der europäischen
Identität im Sinne von Habermas' "Verfassungspatriotismus"
Im Hinblick auf die letztere möchte ich das folgende Konzept
zur Diskussion stellen: Ich nehme an, dass wir nicht mehr vom einem
fest gefügten, formal definierten Begriff der Identität
ausgehen sollten, sondern vielmehr von "Konstitutionsprozessen",
die sich an verschiedenen Bezugspunkten ("Fixpunkte")
orientieren können. So verstanden, werden Identitätskonstruktionen
eher zu (europäisch orientierten) Prozessen der Selbstverortung,
der Selbstkonstitution. Ziel meiner Seminararbeit ist nun, diese
Fixpunkte in Texten zu suchen, sie zu charakterisieren und die semantischen
Hinweise auf die Bezugnahmen auf sie in Texten zu finden, den Prozess
der Bezugnahme selbst also sichtbar zu machen.
Rebecca Fischer | From Sydney
to Wollongong: Naming and Renaming Places in Australia
With a long history of immigration, the Australian
landscape has been subject to an extensive process of naming and
renaming. From the very first inhabitants of the Australian continent
to the immigrants who went there in the 20th century, all left their
traces on the landscape in the form of the names they ascribed to
hills, rivers, lakes or settlements. While in many other countries
with a similar history, only very few native names have survived;
Australia shows a remarkable number of names which can be traced
back to Aboriginal origins.
This presentation will look at various place names present in modern
day Australia, introduced as well as native ones, and will trace
some of the names back to their origin. It will furthermore examine
the process of renaming places and look at possible conflicts arising
from this practice.
The place names in Australia have not received very much attention
from researchers and the public in general. Nevertheless, due to
its history, the naming of places in Australia proves to be an interesting
field of research, especially when it comes to the role of names
as markers of possession.
Anna Kähne | Soap
That Makes You "Think Pink": Semantic Aspects of Commercial
Naming of Products by Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
As a result of tough competition between companies
in consumer societies of the industrialized world, the naming of
products and brands has become one of the instruments of customer
binding. It seems that it is not enough any more to promise good
quality, to describe a purpose of a product or just simply give
a product the name of the inventor or the producing company. Customers
no longer simply buy a product. Instead, while consuming, they find
themselves in the never ending pursuit of happiness, higher social
status, beauty ideals, comfort, individuality and social recognition.
Therefore, the integration of these and other attractive postmaterialistic
values into product naming has recently become an imperative for
any company on the market, enhancing linguistic diversity in the
domain of product and brand names.
This fact has led to increased interest in product
names in both onomastics and linguistics in general. The meaningfulness
and motivation of product names, the fact that they combine characteristic
features of both proper names and appellatives, their synchronic
analysability and employment of figurative language make product
names become interesting objects for a linguistic study.
Lush Fresh Cosmetics, a British producer
and retailer of hand-made cosmetic products, is one of the companies
with conscious product name choice. The corpus of product names
by Lush presents an ideal object for a linguistic study. Its diversity
includes the employment of all possible linguistic means including
rhetorical devices, such as alliteration as in Mmm Marshmallow
Moment bath melt, paronomasia as in Shave the Planet shaving
cream, onomatopoeia as Yummi Yummi Yummi (shower gel),
the usage of foreign language elements in names like Ne Worry
Pas (bath bomb), new word-formations like Ultrabland
(cleanser), word-class transfer via zero-derivation as in Think
Pink (bath ballistics).
Although all these elements present an interesting
field for a linguistic study, the main goal of my presentation is
to concentrate on the semantic issues and to present a semantic
typology of product names from the present corpus. The latter is
based on types of semantic motivation of product names by Lush
and reflects on various cases of iconicity and indexicality found
in the corpus. Furthermore, the product names are classified in
accordance to their descriptive or allusive character in relation
The semantic typology of product names by Lush
is a constituent part of a thesis under the title "Economic
Value of Product Names and Linguistic Means of their Creation"
supervised by Prof. Dr. Angelika Bergien and Prof. Dr. Renate Belentschikow.
Miriam Hauft | Influence of Biographical
Factors on Individual Success in Second Language Acquisition
This paper examines the influence of certain biographical
factors on a person’s actual ability to succeed in second
language (L2) acquisition. Very often biographical factors are taken
as an indication for a person’s ability to speak and understand
a language. This is also the case in international debating, which
will serve as motivation and example in this paper.
Debating is a sport that requires contestants
to have mastered language in a way that they can make complex arguments
understood, and convince a critical audience of a given position.
International debating tournaments are therefore naturally faced
with the problem how to judge native and non-native speakers of
English, as native speakers have an obvious advantage when competing
against non-native speakers. In this paper, we will focus on the
European Universities Debating Championship (EUDC) for which the
EUDC council as governing body has decided to introduce two categories
of judgment: ESL (English as a second language) and EFL (English
as a first language). In order to determine which speaker belongs
into which category, certain criteria have been formulated by the
council, many of which are generally accepted as defining a “good”
speaker of English. Among these criteria are the age at which English
was learned, the time since when English is spoken, the role English
plays in the person’s everyday life, and time the person has
spent in English-speaking environments. According to these biographical
factors, speakers at the EUDC are classified as either ESL or EFL.
In this paper, the criteria used by the EUDC council
will be examined from a linguistic point of view, in order to find
out if these factors really have such a considerable impact on a
person’s ability to learn and speak an L2 that would justify
a reliable categorization of speakers. Hypotheses about which of
the factors may or may not influence L2 acquisition in a significantly
positive way will be formulated. It will then be examined which
of them may play an especially prominent role in L2 acquisition.
Is the age at which we start learning English, for example, more
important than the time we have spent in an English-speaking country?
Subsequently, a study will be presented that may support these findings.
Students will be questioned on their personal experience of learning
English as an L2 and they will be asked to specify on the criteria
that are applied by the EUDC council. Their data will then be compared
with their TOEFL scores which serve as a standardized point of comparison
for their ability to speak and understand English. From that, we
might be able to draw conclusions if one of the factors defined
for classifying international debaters does in fact influence a
person’s individual success in L2 acquisition. Based on that,
suggestions for future international debating tournaments will be
given. As employers and teachers often also intuitively rely on
these factors when estimating whether or not a person speaks English
as an L2 very well, the findings of this paper might even suggest
an adjustment of these general expectations.
Lydia Gerlich | Intercultural
Encounters in Bilingual Preschools
Intercultural (communication) competence has been
a subject of research for a number of decades. In their research
endeavors, scholars have so far mainly focused on defining the concept
of intercultural competence, on developing intercultural training
programs for adults, and on assessing intercultural skills in the
context of international business interactions. In view of intensifying
globalization processes and increasing opportunities for multicultural
encounters in national contexts it is clear, however, that the need
for intercultural competence goes beyond the confines of business
As many other skills and abilities, intercultural
competence can only be acquired over an extended period of time.
Therefore, it is never too early to gather knowledge about one's
own and other cultures, to learn tolerance and respect for others
and their cultural practices, and to develop strategies for dealing
with ambiguity and frustration in intercultural contexts. Consequently,
intercultural education emphasizes the need to build intercultural
competence as early as in the preschool years.
Since intercultural communication competence is
a necessity for, as well as an outcome of, foreign language learning,
the ELIAS project, which researches early language acquisition in
preschools, focuses also on the development of the children's intercultural
communication competence under the influence of native speakers
and the acquisition of English as a second language.
The data used in this paper were collected over a period of two
years using the methods of ethnographic observation at various preschools
in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.