The Body’s Role in Thinking, Performing and Referencing Conference

Thursday, October 19 - Friday, October 20

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Tentative program

October 19, 2017

6:00-8:00 p.m.
Gesture and Sign in Relation to Storytelling
This session will include three sign-language and three spoken-language artists, who will perform 10-minute works, followed by a panel discussion with the artists and the directors of the Center for Gesture, Sign, and Language on how gesture is a part of the piece from conception to performance. The discussion will be led by Peter Cook, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Deaf Studies and ASL Interpreting at Columbia College, Chicago. Cook has recently been awarded the 2017 Storytelling Hall of Fame Award from the Department of Communication and Performance at East Tennessee State University. As a research associate on the Neubauer Collegium project “The Body’s Role in Thinking, Performing, and Referencing,” Cook co-organized a panel discussion called “Roots, Diversity, Imagery: The Driving Force Behind Sign Language Identity” in February 2016. He has contributed numerous scholarly contributions in the literary analysis of ASL stories and poems, which have become important in comparing gesture as it is used in hearing and deaf storytellers.

October 20, 2017

9:00-10:30 a.m.
Embodied Cognition: Gesture and Sign in Relation to Action
This session will address how we use our hands in action vs. gesture vs. language. The project focuses on nuanced differences, measured with motion capture data equipment, that have the potential to give us insight into the ways that deaf signers and hearing gesturers use their hands to act on objects, to gesture about the objects, or to sign about the objects.
Presenter: Amanda Brown

10:30-11:00am
Break

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Points in Gesture and Sign
Points allow us to refer to entities present and not present, focused and incidental. The project examines similarities and differences between the points that deaf signers use as pronouns in sign language, and the points that hearing gesturers use as indicators in co-speech gesture.
Presenter: Kensy Cooperrider

12:00-2:00 p.m.
Lunch

2:00-3:30 p.m.
The Face of Linguistic Structure
Both signers and gesturers use their faces in conjunction with linguistic structure in important ways. The project examines how the face is used when conveying meanings associated with different types of speech acts, and whether the face can tell us about the semantic and pragmatic intensions of signers and speakers.
Presenter: Josh Falk

3:30-4:00 p.m.
Break

4:00-5:30 p.m. 
Keynote Address: Herb Clark, "'Depiction' in Communication"
Herb Clark, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, is a psycholinguist whose focuses include cognitive and social processes in language use; interactive processes in conversation, from low-level disfluencies through acts of speaking and understanding to the emergence of discourse; and word meaning and word use. Clark is known for his theory of "common ground," which posits that individuals engaged in conversation must share knowledge in order to be understood and have a meaningful conversation. Together with Deanna Wilkes-Gibbs, he also developed the collaborative model, a theory for explaining how people in conversation coordinate with one another to determine definite references.