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The recorded plenary talks will be made available soon! 

Plenary Speakers:

Barbara Adam (Cardiff University, UK)
“Reflecting on Future Matters for Eco-Linguistics"

Thursday, September 22, 9:00 - 10:00

In this presentation I explore issues that arise with a focus on time-ecological future matters where time and the future no longer form a taken-for-granted backdrop to analyses and the futurity of ecological processes is brought into high relief. My starting point to this presentation is a poetic reflection on time as the connective tissue of life and existence which brings to the fore temporal complexity, processuality and implicit assumptions. Foregrounding what tends to be hidden in the background allows for processes rather than their outcomes to take centre stage of the analysis, which further unsettles understanding, challenges assumptions and directs attention to some deep structural issues of language. It highlights the need for change away from object-thinking and binary logics towards a systemic temporal perspective, appropriate to the Anthropocene. I conclude the presentation with a poetic reflection on futurity, which distils into visual form the points raised during the presentation.

Prof Dr. Dr. Barbara Adam is emerita Professor at Cardiff University, Affiliate Scholar at the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam and Distinguished Schumacher Fellow at the Schumacher Institute, Bristol. The social temporal has been the primary intellectual project of her academic career, resulting in five research monographs, numerous edited books and a large number of articles in which she brought time to the center of social science analysisThis focus facilitated a unique socio-environmental theory, whose relevance transcends disciplines and is taught across the Arts and the Humanities as well as the Social and Environmental Sciences. On the basis of this work, she has been awarded two book prizes as well as numerous theory-based research grants and fellowships.  She is founding editor of the journal Time & Society.

Alwin F. Fill (University of Graz, Austria)
“Ecolinguistics against War and Climate Change”

Wednesday, September 21, 17:30 - 18:30

Among the topics not yet dealt with in ecolinguistics, Mühlhäusler (2020: 4) mentions the following: “Military Expenditure and Conflict”. In 2022, this topic has become particularly urgent to be dealt with. Michael Halliday criticized certain feature of grammar which are due to our thinking. “What we can do is […] to show how the grammar promotes the ideology of growth, or growthism” (Halliday 2001: 196). According to Halliday, this ‘ideology’ may have two consequences: one of them is war, which mostly follows from some leader wishing to make his empire larger; the other one is “the destruction of the entire planet as a habitable environment” (2001: 197). Thus Halliday at a comparatively early time (in 1990!) showed the linguistic background of both the origin of war and of what we now call the climate change. As linguists, it is our duty to make all users of language aware of this. A topic connected with this is whether non-European languages also feature growthism. It is quite possible that certain African or indigenous Australian languages do not favor growthism, so that the people speaking them are not implicated in the climate change. This will have to be investigated in the near future.

Alwin Fill is Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics at the University of Graz (Austria). He studied English and Latin at the University of Innsbruck and undertook further studies at Queen’s College (University of Oxford, UK) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA). His main research interests are ecolinguistics, language and suspense, the impact of language, and linguistics for peace. He has published books on all of these topics; in 2018, his Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics appeared (co-ed. with Hermine Penz). His books on Ecolinguistics include The Ecolinguistics Reader (ed. with P. Mühlhäusler, 2001) and Sustaining Language. Essays in Applied Ecolinguistics (ed. with Hermine Penz, 2007).

Andrew Goatly (Lingnan University, Hong Kong)
“The similarity and contiguity dimensions of meaning and ecology”

Friday, September 23, 17:45 - 18:45

According to Jakobson (1987), and as supported by research into language processing associated with Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas of the brain (Ardila 2010), meaning can develop along the similarity or contiguity dimensions.  The similarity dimension (Wernicke’s area) is associated with paradigms, metaphor, nouns, abstraction, and classification, while contiguity (Broca’s area) is associated with syntagms, metonymy, verbs/clauses, contextuality and interrelation. The contiguity dimension has two aspects – local and global (Goatly 2022). This lecture discusses various aspects of these two dimensions in relation to ecology and its crises.Classification is dependent on similarity and, obviously enough, taken to extremes this militates against diversity, cultural, and more to the point, biological. This is especially the case with the extreme forms of similarity-based meaning, money and mathematics. The commodification of nature, celebration of GDP growth and the application of mathematical models to ecology are perverse consequences of this extremism. Resistances to classification and insistence on individuation are paramount in the philosophy of Duns Scotus and Daoism, with their respective synonymous concepts of haeccitas and ziran. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins celebrated haeccitas in his poem ‘As Kingfishers Catch Fire’. However, if similarity has its dangers so does limiting meaning to local contiguity.  Amitav Ghosh laments the fact that the contemporary European novel (Ghosh 2016) is too time-restricted and local to admit the global forces shaping our ecology, despite his own attempts to remedy this in The Hungry Tide (Ghosh 2004, Zurru 2017). Important philosophical, ecological and physical theories recognise these global contiguities in a web of interconnected processes. These include, as well as Scotism and Daoism, Gaia theory, chaos theory, relational theory and quantum theory (Corning 2002, Rovelli 2021). ‘Sonnet’ by Alice Oswald is a good example of a poem which recognises interconnected processes spanning vast tracts of time. However, language cannot escape the similarity dimension, given our meaning-making and patterning instincts (Lent 2017). The best we can hope for is maintaining a diversity of voices, from different languages/cultures, using a variety of metaphors and narratives, which can communicate in evaluative dialogue with each other.

After studying English at Oxford University, and obtaining his PhD at University College London, supervised by the late Randolph Quirk, Andrew Goatly embarked on a teaching and research career in colleges and universities in the UK, Rwanda, Thailand, Singapore, Austria, and Hong Kong. He is now retired in Canterbury, UK, but remains an Honorary Professor of Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His books include The Language of Metaphors (Routledge 1997, revised edition 2011), Critical Reading and Writing in the Digital Age (2nd edition with Preet Hiradhar, Routledge 2016), Washing the Brain: Metaphor and Hidden Ideology (Benjamins 2007), Explorations in Stylistics (Equinox 2008), and Meaning and Humour (Cambridge 2012). His latest book in press is Two Dimensions of Meaning: Similarity and Contiguity in Metaphor and Metonymy, Language, Culture, and Ecology (Routledge 2022). He has also compiled an online interactive database of English metaphors with Chinese translations, Metalude.

Miao Xingwei (Beijing Normal University, China)
“Unity of Humans and Nature: Ecologization in Mandarin Chinese as Ecological Care for the Life-sustaining Environment”

Friday, September 23, 9:00 - 10:00

The concept of “unity of humans and nature” (天人合一), which lies at the centre of Chinese philosophies such as Taoism and Confucianism, maintains that the human being is an integral part of nature and thus calls for harmony between humans and nature. What underpins unity of humans and nature is the life-sustaining relationship of humans with the environment and with other forms of life (Stibbe, 2015), which contributes to developing and achieving sustainable ways of life. Unity of humans and nature has been an important ecosophy for the Chinese people in treating the natural world, as exhibited in particular in the ecological care for the environment and other forms of life. This ecosophy in turn is shaped through Mandarin Chinese in terms of ecologization (Fill, 2001), as evidenced in the formation of Chinese characters and expressions that suggests ecological embeddedness of human existence (Nash & Mühlhäusler, 2014). In the formation of logographic Chinese characters, radicals are very often derived from pictographic symbols of the environment associated with plants, animals and the universe. The formation of many ideographic Chinese characters is also ecologically motivated and thus reflects social interaction between humans and the environment. In the formation of expressions, ecologization is realized by means of empathy for nature and identification with nature. As the linguistic manifestation of unity of humans and nature, ecologization in Mandarin Chinese is not only ecologically motivated but also care-oriented, and thus emphasizes the interconnectedness of humans and nature on the one hand, and inspires people’s ecological care for the life-sustaining environment on the other.

Miao Xingwei is professor and dean of  the School of Foreign Languages and Literature at Beijing Normal University. He holds an M.A. degree in TEFL (Beijing Foreign Studies University, 1994) and a Ph.D. degree in linguistics (Fudan University, 1999). His research interests include ecolinguistics, functional linguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, stylistics and applied linguistics. He is currently Director of China Stylistics Association, Vice Director of China Ecolinguistics Association, Vice Director of China Discourse Studies Association, Vice Director of Association of English and Chinese Discourse Analysis, Managing Director of China English Language Education Association, and Managing Director of China Pragmatics Association. He has published 6 books and more than 90 academic articles. His major publications include The Discourse Functions of Pragmatic Presupposition (Suzhou University Press, 2000), A Contrastive Study of Cohesion in English and Chinese (co-authored) (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2001), An Introduction to Functional Linguistics (co-authored) (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2004), A Discourse-Pragmatic Study of English and Chinese (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2010), Discourse Analysis: From Theory to Practice (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2020), Discourse Analysis of Chinese (Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2021).

Academic Committee:

Hermine Penz (University of Graz)
Martin Döring (University of Hamburg)
Alwin Fill (University of Graz)
Georg Marko (University of Graz)
Wilhelm Trampe (University of Osnabrück)

Local Organizing Committee:

Hermine Penz (University of Graz)
Eva Katharina Bauer (University of Graz)
Lea Pešec (University of Graz)
Anna Aschauer (University of Graz)



Academic Leader

Hermine Penz

Ao.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.phil.

Institute for English Studies
Heinrichstraße 36/III

Telefon:+43 316 380 - +43 (0)316 380 - 2498

Student Assistant

Eva Katharina Bauer


Institute for English Studies
Heinrichstraße 36/Room 418

Contact me about any organizational matters concerning the ICE-6!
Student Assistant

Lea Pešec


Institute for English Studies
Heinrichstraße 36/Room 418

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