Barbara Dancygier

Professor

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Mar 2019)
Telling animals : a histology of Dene textualized orature (2017)

In this dissertation, I create an interpretive framework based on deictic constructions to analyze Dene/Athabaskan poetics in four print collections of dual-language textualized orature— Denesułine/Chipewyan (Alberta), Dena’ina/Tanaina (Alaska), Dene Dháh/South Slavey (Alberta), and Diné Bizaad/Navajo (Southwest). Using this framework, I focus on the epistemological power of animals via the critical metaphor of animal tissue (muscle, bone, blood, and breath)—thus “histology.” My Introduction describes my framework. Chapter two, “‘Grandson, / This is meat’: Wolf and Caribou on How to Live in This Is What They Say,” focuses on ɂɛtθén, the word for both “meat” and “caribou,” and the homophonic relationship between meat and caribou. Chapter three, “‘I will be popular with the Campfire People, so ha, ha, ha’: Porcupine and Lynx on How to Love in K’tl’egh’i Sukdu/A Dena’ina Legacy,” on k’etch eltani, the prophetic practice of true belief. Chapter four, “‘What will you do now?’: Wolverine and Wolf on How to Die in ‘The Man Who Sought a Song,’” told by Elisse Ahnassay, on the (a)historical function of wodih, “news,” an oral genre that shapes the future. Chapter five, “‘If it floats, we will all live forever’: Coyote and Badger on How to Live Again in Diné Bahane’: The Navajo Creation Story,” on the reincarnational exchange figured by niłch’i bii’ sizinii, the inner wind. My Conclusion, “Histologies,” considers how the above concepts correspond to: flesh (ɂɛtθén), mind (k’etch eltani), breath (niłch’i bii’ sizinii), and bone (wodih): an animal that is a dream, a dream that is an animal. One of the primary ideas in my dissertation is the concept of narrative revitalization, which I define as cognate to and coeval with community practices of language revitalization, by comparing our conditions for who we are, how much space we believe ourselves to share, and how much time we have to share it in.

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Cognitive ecology and visual poetry: toward a multimodal cognitive poetics (2015)

No abstract available.

The Northwest Territories reconstruction project : telling our stories (2009)

Early travellers and adventurers in the Northwest Territories in their struggle to deal with the harshness of the land and the strangeness of the inhabitants were often unable to give a verbal shape to the landscape and the people beyond that of the familiar images of their European background. North became synonymous with alien, hostile, cold, barren, and mysterious and its people were identified alternatively as abject, heathen, filthy and sometimes dangerous savages or as paragons of noble manhood who served as examples for future imperializing ventures.I examine two travel narratives of the Northwest Territories and argue that a discourse of North, that was constructed from an imperialist, Eurocentric perspective failed to take into account the stories, the history and the culture of the indigenous people who lived there. I question the means by which such received history and knowledge becomes validated and empowering, while at the same time, other uncredentialed knowledge and stories which lack authority are lost. Warburton Pike wrote The Barren Ground of Northern Canada in 1892 and Agnes Deans Cameron wrote The New North in 1910. These works and others, while contributing to early knowledge of the indigenous people, were instrumental inframing an imaginary north that assumed hegemonic status over the geographical and cultural north that already existed. I then examine the works of two recent indigenous writers, George Blondin and Robert Alexie, who write back to Eurocentric constructions of north to validate their own histories and reclaim their land, not just in the physical sense of land claims but in ways which will give credence to their stories and their culture. I consider the role of stories and their power to preserve or destroy and I concludewith the hope that I can undertake a future work to examine in more detail the wealth ofnarrative available about the Northwest Territories.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Making sense of reality through fiction : approaching memes through the intersecting lenses of cognitive linguistics and narratology (2017)

In this thesis project, I develop a new approach to examine how and why people use fictive narratives to cope with traumatic events. While this area of research has primarily been studied through the lenses of cognitive narratology and psychology, I adapt a cognitive linguistic methodology, centered on the theoretical framework of conceptual blending, frame metonymy, and viewpoint networks, to analyze multimodal online memes that blend popular fictive narratives with traumatic real-world events. This project differs from past analyses of memes by considering not just the visual and textual data of a meme, but also the contextual frames that shape the way we interact with memes in everyday online discourse—this includes the social media platforms memes they are shared through and the real-world events that prompt their creation. I focus my analysis on a set of multimodal memes created and shared in the twenty-four-hour period after the 2016 U.S. federal election that blend the shocking electoral victory of Donald Trump with images and dialogue taken from the popular The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I argue that the creation and sharing of these memes across social media platforms in the immediate aftermath of what many considered a traumatic event provides evidence of how people use specific narratives that are salient to their culture, values, and identity to cope with trauma. These narratives inform future behaviour, provide causal and sequential logic, project closure onto an uncertain future, and connect individual experiences and viewpoints to like-minded collectives.

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Viewpoint, blends, narrative and meaning construction in Pocoyo (2016)

Using the tools of cognitive linguistics, I analyze the meaning construction process at work in the first two seasons of the children’s animated television show Pocoyo. The show communicates with viewers and clarifies the primary use of objects through application, and through interaction between the characters and the narrator. The tools of cognitive linguistics, including blending theory and viewpoint analysis, enable this study to explain the meaning construction process of Pocoyo and consequently how virtual experience fosters usage-based understanding. As the viewer is immersed in the narrative through narrative space interaction, viewpoint alignment and blending, the viewer associates on-screen concepts with their own personal embodied experience. From this perspective, the viewer learns concepts alongside Pocoyo.

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Multimodal Rhetorical Figures (2015)

No abstract available.

Fortune and her wheel : a cognitive linguistic approach (2013)

This thesis is a cognitive linguistic analysis of the concept of fortune and how it has changed over time. It examines the history of the word 'fortune' and what meanings it has had, the representation of Fortune as a human-like personality that interacts with humans, and the use of the ‘wheel of fortune’ symbol to represent unpredictable changes in life. All three of these elements are shown to be part of the same larger process of conceptual change. The pagan goddess Fortuna begins as a common blend that treats unpredictable events as the actions of a person-like entity. She gradually takes on more features and functions as her name is metonymically expanded to designate a variety of elements in the conceptual frame of RISK, e.g. positive and negative outcomes that result from Fortuna’s decisions are called ‘fortunes’. Fortune’s wheel is a structure that relies on very basic primary metaphors such as REPETITION IS CIRCULAR MOTION, which the Romans use to talk about repeated reversals of fortune. They also represent Fortuna standing on a wheel, using the BALANCE schema to show her instability. These image schematic structures are thought of in a much more cohesive way by medieval thinkers who used the image of a person attached to the outer rim of a wheel, riding it around in a circle and going up and down at the same time. For the first time, that person’s moving viewpoint is what makes the wheel significant. Over the course of later centuries the meanings of the word 'fortune' come to be used in increasingly separate contexts, and so do different images of Fortune (as controller turning the wheel, or nude figure balancing on top of a wheel, rolling around but ready to be caught). As probability and randomness become more popular concepts, the wheel is blended with the image of a wheel used for gambling, with a focus on where the wheel will stop. It leaves open the possibility that Fortune may be controlling the wheel, but the more salient meaning is that by interacting with the wheel, an individual can win a fortune.

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Animal-vocalist blends in rock music reviews : a comprehensive method (2010)

The present study describes music criticism of rock vocalists where their vocalizations are compared to those of animals in the form of the animal-vocalist blend. The animal-vocalist blend (using the framework developed by Fauconnier and Turner) is a representative example of the use of linguistic and cognitive resources in order to convey acoustic and affective information. These blends present an excellent case study in the variety and expressiveness that is present in the dense semantic field of the album review. The current project draws additional resources from linguistic motor theory, cognitive science, and affect psychology to offer a comprehensive model of this creative process. Findings reveal the highly motivated nature of the animal-vocalist blend, the underlying mechanisms or rhetorical common grounds on which speakers discuss responses to music, and the meaningfulness of human-animal interaction.

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Recent Tri-Agency Grants

The following is a selection of grants for which the faculty member was principal investigator or co-investigator. Currently, the list only covers Canadian Tri-Agency grants from years 2013/14-2016/17 and excludes grants from any other agencies.

  • 13th international cognitive linguistics conference - UBC Humanities and Social Science (HSS) Research Fund - Faculty of Arts HSS Conference Travel Grants (2015/2016)
  • Understanding multimodal communication - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) - Insight Grants (2015/2016)
  • Word and image: a cognitive investigation - UBC Humanities and Social Science (HSS) Research Fund - Faculty of Arts HSS Research Grants (2014/2015)
 

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