The 11th year of SOU’s Campus Theme will kick off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the presentation, “Ignorance, Wisdom and the Etymological Fallacy,” by English Professor Edwin Battistella.
The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be in Room 319 of the Stevenson Union.
This year’s Campus Theme – “Ignorance and Wisdom” – will explore those two concepts and their relationships. The university adopts at theme each year for a series of lectures and discussions. Last year’s was “Truth,” and the previous year was “Shapes of Curiosity.” The series each year creates opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in intellectually stimulating conversations.
Tuesday’s talk will focus on what can be learned from the history of words. Battistella’s interactive presentation will look specifically at the history and development of the words “ignorance” and “wisdom,” the limits of word history and the mechanism of semantic change. He will also explore techniques to study and pin down the meanings of those and other similar words.
SOU faculty members are asked to encourage their students to attend the presentation.
Battistella, who earned his doctorate in linguistics from the City University of New York, teaches linguistics and writing at SOU. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Politico, Oregon Humanities and the Oregonian. He is the author most recently of “Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology,” published in 2014 by Oxford University Press.
Battistella is also on the editorial board of “The Oregon Encyclopedia” and is the co-editor-in-chief of journal “Language and Linguistics Compass.”