Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series with Dr. Robin Lakoff on "Narrative Control and the Human Project"

The Humanities Institute will continue its Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series, "Narrative and Social Justice," featuring a presentation by Dr. Robin Lakoff, Professor Emerita of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Lakoff's talk is on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 PM at POB 2.302. Her presentation is titled "Narrative Control and the Human Project," which will explore how narrative is mobilized in the 2020 presidential campaign and political analysis.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated but not required (https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_06amnoDIhuNJaiF).


The problem of how to do the best we can for our species – what we might call “the human project” – by using language for the purpose of social cohesion has been with us for millennia, but never has it become both as difficult and as essential as it is for us today. Human beings are above all a social species. We have survived and thrived for as long as we have because we are able to form groups and function within them. To the extent that we are successful in this group cohesion, we do well; otherwise, we have often found ourselves in danger. Over the millennia in which we have existed, we have developed many capacities that we use to achieve this result. Of them all, language is arguably the most important. This year the narrative is already much under discussion for the 2020 presidential campaign. Where prior discussions of political narratives focused on the individual’s personal story, each seen as separate, this year a lot of analysis has been concerned with the role of “narrative control” – which candidate can or will control the single “story” that ultimately emerges as being “about” the campaign. What does this fight for narrative control tell us about how early 21st century Americans are constructing our roles as actors in the human project?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Building (POB), Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302
201 24TH ST E, Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Academics, Arts & Humanities, Policy & Law


College of Liberal Arts

Target Audience

Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni, General Public

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