QRM 2012 Keynote Speaker
University of Oregon
Embodied Meaning and Thought
We are creatures incarnate. The problem for an embodied cognition view is to explain how all our meaning,
thoughts, values, and actions are grounded in our embodied organism as it engages environments that are at once
physical, social, cultural, gendered, and racialized. Recent research coming from the cognitive sciences is
beginning to give us a way to understand how meaning arises from our bodies and is elaborated in our highest
activities of abstract conceptualization and reasoning. The new view of mind that emerges from this
interdisciplinary research gives a central role to images, schemas, metaphors, feelings, and emotions
in the constitution of human understanding in every aspect of our lives.
Mark Johnson is the Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon.
His areas of interest include metaphor theory, the philosophy of language, moral theory, pragmatism, and aesthetics. His
co-authored book with George Lakoff, Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought (1999) is
a classic not only in showing how metaphors are a fundamental part of life, but also in drawing attention to the bodily nature
of meaning, concepts, thought and language.
In his latest book, The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding
(2007) Mark Johnson delves more deeply into aspects of embodied meaning and cognition that have traditionally been ignored or
under-valued in mainstream philosophy. He pays special attention to the ways our bodily engagement with our environment makes
thought possible and to the "aesthetic" dimensions of experience, meaning, and action. He is currently working from an embodiment
perspective to critically assess the recent upsurge of attention to empirically-based naturalistic conceptions of moral deliberation,
judgment, and valuing: in particular exploring what morality is, where it comes from, and how it changes over time.
Embodied Meaning, Cognition, and Value
The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding, University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (co-author George
Lakoff), Basic Books, 1999.
Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics, University of Chicago Press, 1993.
The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason, University of Chicago Press,
Metaphors We Live By (co-author George Lakoff), University of Chicago Press, 1980.
What Makes a Body? Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 22, no. 3 (2008), 159-169.
The Stone that was Cast Out Shall Become the Cornerstone: The Bodily Aesthetics of Human Meaning, Journal of Visual Arts Practice, 6, no. 2 (2007), 89-103.
QRM 2012 Keynote Speaker
Karen Lee Ashcraft
University of Colorado, Boulder
Knowing One Working Body From Another:
Possibilities for an Embodied Epistemology of the Professions
Like all workers, scholars are bodies as well as minds. The body is the instrument through which we inquire,
observe, record, analyze, contend, and—dare we divulge—feel. Judging from most management scholarship, we dare
not; safer to know from a disembodied analytic distance. But to also know from a place of intimacy, from our
senses, feelings, and investments: This remains an awkward and unaccountable activity for most of us. At issue
in this talk is what we might learn about work if we valued embodied epistemology in our own work. The talk is
grounded in ongoing empirical research on how occupations evolve by association with certain bodies and, specifically,
how gender, race, sexuality, and class become integral to the rise and fall of professions. Merging the commonly
separated scholarly practices of method and theory, I consider how the embodied experience of studying a profession
can illuminate its organization in public and private.
Karen Lee Ashcraft is a Professor of Organizational Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an Associate Editor
for the international journal Human Relations. Her research employs qualitative methods to examine the complex relation among
organizational forms, occupational identities, and 'difference', with a particular focus on gender and race.
Karen's work -- for example, on so-called feminine modes of management and leadership, feminist organizing, and the historial
construction of airline pilots as elite professionals -- has appeared in such venues as Administrative Science Quarterly,
Academy of Management Journal, Communication Theory, and Management Communication Quarterly. Her current work investigates
how multiple organizational and occupational constituents engage in strategic identity work on the identity *of* work, or
'occupational branding'; and she is especially concerned with how the working body factors into this process.