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January 27, 2016

Style as a Cognitive Category

Heyman Center Second Floor Common Room (Map/Directions)

Michael Shapiro
Professor Emeritus of Slavic and Semiotic Studies
Brown University


Style can be moved away from problems of introspection and self-awareness by redirecting the age-old discussion into a more public arena where the contrast with custom allows insight into the ontology of human activity in general. This can be accomplished when style as a phenomenon that cuts across disciplinary boundaries is viewed tropologically as a fundamentally cognitive category. A global theory of style entails arguing more closely for the concept of style as a trope of meaning; and demonstrating how stylistic analysis can reveal itself not just as a compendium of traditionally taxonomized information but as the means whereby individual manifestations of style, their structural coherences, and their mirroring of signification can be identified and evaluated.