zondag 13 juni 2010

NIAS-verblijf

Door: Alan Cienki
It’s late May now and I’m nearing the end of my ten-month fellowship period at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. The time here has been very useful to finish writing some papers that were past due, rethink the focus of the book project which I came here to work on, co-organize a couple of conferences, and receive some invitations out of the blue to get involved in a few collaborations. The book project began with a focus on the relation of gesture studies to the field of cognitive linguistics, and has turned into a work questioning what the boundaries on “language” are from the perspective of cognitive grammar (it appears it’s become broader and more focussed at the same time). The co-organization of conferences has involved one on Language, Culture, and Mind  and one on Researching and Applying Metaphor, and both have been facilitated by the wonders of Skype.
Being at NIAS has furthered my work on several levels. Mostly it has been through the focus that comes with being surrounded by so much lush greenery and quiet (see the photo from my bike route to the nearest train station, from which I return home to Amsterdam every weekend). I saw a deer one day from my office window... It’s been enjoyable getting to know the other ‘fellows’, who come from all across the humanities and social sciences. Half are from Dutch universities and half are from the rest of the world. Local social activities include film nights, poetry readings, an occasional recital by students from the Royal Conservatoire (the organizer at NIAS loves repeating that name when he introduces the performers), forced Christmas carolling, pre-Queen’s-Day high tea, oh I could go on and on. No sightings of Willem Alexander or Maxima here this year, though.
Despite the privilege of being in this isolated bliss, I do look forward to returning to a normal, non-bilocational life again, in Amsterdam, at the end of June.
See you soon,
Alan Cienki

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