“Names Have Power”: Five Essays on Names and Identity

Image by Girish Gopi (CC BY 2.0)

“Names have power,” writes Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein in a recent popular essay, “The Violence of Naming.” We identify ourselves by names: family names, nicknames, the surnames of our partners, pseudonyms, and more. These five essays, curated by Cheri Lucas Rowlands at the Discover blog, explore the ties we have (or don’t have) to our names, and the roles that they play in our evolving identities.

The essays are:

  • “The Violence of Naming,” Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein
  • “Call You By Your Name,” Roxanne Krystalli, Stories of Conflict and Love
  • “Ain’t Nothing But a Family Thing,” Matt Miklic
  • “How I Changed My Name,” Ellen Kittle, Stickler
  • “The Mystery of Carl Miller,” Sarah Miller, Longreads

PhD Opportunity: Researching the Stevenson collection of maps, University of Edinburgh / National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is currently offering funding for a collaborative PhD centered on researching the Stevenson collection of ca. 3,000 maps and plans (ca. 1800-1900).  The collection also includes details documents on infrastructure construction projects such as the building of 19th century Scottish harbors, canals, bridges, and lighthouses.  Further details concerning the collection, the project, and the profile required for applicants can be found here. The closing date for applications is Friday 19 May.

The award, which is made by the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium as part of the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Programme, will be managed jointly by the University of Edinburgh (Institute of Geography) and the National Library of Scotland, The studentship, which is full-time and funded for 3.5 years, will begin in October 2017 and will be jointly supervised by Christopher Fleet and Alison Metcalfe (National Library of Scotland) and Professor Charles W. J. Withers (University of Edinburgh). Part-time applications are welcome.

Join “Tropical Toponymy”, Facebook group on African place names

A Facebook group on Tropical Toponymy has been started. The purpose of the group is to share information about African place names. Anyone interested is warmly invited to join.

The website Ghana Place Names was started in 2010 as “a research project to find the meanings and origins of as many place names in Ghana as possible”. The intention of the Tropical Toponymy group is to broaden the scope and give opportunity for contributors to share their knowledge of place names anywhere on the continent of Africa. It is hoped that this will enable comparisons to be made and identify similarities and differences in naming motivations in the different cultures.

If you are interested, please request membership of the group. If you would like to contribute information about a place name, if possible please give at least the country & approximate location, and the meaning of the name. Some account of how the place got its name would also be useful. A picture of the place helps to make the name less abstract. Questions are also welcome, in the hope that other readers will be able to help. Relevant announcements and links may also be posted.

Symposium: Becoming and Belonging: The Significance of Personal Names and Personal Naming, University of Leicester, UK, July 6 2017

On the 6th of July 2017, a special symposium entitled “Becoming and Belonging: The Significance of Personal Names and Personal Naming” will be held at the University of Leicester.  The preliminary programme as well as information regarding registration can be found here. This is a free event with lunch included. Pre-registration is required as places are limited.

The names we have are at the nucleus of our individual identities and our family affiliations, as well as our social and civil-legal identities. Yet, despite the fundamental, ubiquitous and ongoing importance of personal names in everyday life and the high level of popular interest in all things naming-related, the topic of personal names remains an underdeveloped area of study – not least in the UK.

Bringing together scholars from a range of social science disciplines, this one-day symposium offers a programme of talks and discussions focused on personal naming practices. The symposium represents a unique opportunity for an exchange of ideas about the social and cultural significance of personal names and will contribute to a step-change in their interdisciplinary study.

About Names: Candace, from biblical queen to Hollywood star

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his May 9 column, he looks at the history of the name Candace. Candice is an alternative of Candace, Latin form of Kandake, itself the Greek form of kentake, which is Meroitic for “queen” or “royal woman.” Candace, like other biblical names, went out of style in the late 19th century. Candace peaked at 171st in 1952. The name’s fashion had ended, it seemed. Then Candice Bergen became a fashion model. Read on to find out more about famous Candaces!

Lecture Series: Maps and Society – The History of Cartography, London, UK, May 18th 2017

The Warburg Institute at the University of London is hosting a scholarly series of lectures devoted to the theme of “Maps and Society”.  The specific theme of this year’s series is the history of cartography.  On May 18th, Dr. John Moore, the Collections Manager at the University of Glasgow’s Library, will give a lecture entitled: “Glasgow and Its Maps: How Cartography Has Reflected the Highs and Lows of the Second City of the Empire”.  Details concerning other lectures in the series may be found here. Admission is free and open to all map lovers.

Summer Classes: The Historical Sociolinguistics Network, Lesbos, Greece, July 16-23 2017

From the 16th to the 23rd of July 2017, the 11th annual Historical Sociolinguistics Network (HiSoN) Summer School will be offered at the Metochi Study Centre on the beautiful island of Lesbos.  Some of the top researchers who will be offering coursework this year include Dr. Peter Trudgill, Dr. Pieter Muysken, Dr. Miriam Meyerhoff, and Dr. Merja Stenroos. As space is severely limited for this event, interested graduate students are encouraged to sign-up SOON. Information regarding registration may be found here. Information on the courses scheduled and the prospective readings can be found here. The summer school is organized by the Historical Sociolinguistics Network, in close cooperation with Leiden University and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

NSW Australia parents favoring royal, vintage names for babies

Parents in New South Wales are partial to members of the Royal family and famous authors when it comes to naming their children, according to the latest information on the state’s most popular names for newborns.

The State Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages has confirmed in 2016 data that parents tend to stick with the orthodox and leave avant-garde names to the celebrities. This time, Olivia has cracked the number one spot for newborn girls, alongside the boy’s title-holder since 2014, Oliver. William and Charlotte were ranked second in their gender lists in a nod to the Royal family. Read on for more details!

Škoda Karoq Is The Name For Next Generation Yeti SUV

Czech carmaker Škoda has revealed the name of its new compact SUV, as reported by MotorBeam. The Škoda Karoq will replace the Yeti and will be positioned below the Kodiaq. The name and the spelling have been derived from the language of Alaska’s indigenous people. Known as the Alutiiq tribe who live there, car in their language is called ‘KAA’RAQ’ and arrow is known as ‘RUQ’. Interestingly, an arrow constitutes the central element of Škoda’s logo and this is how the words ‘KAA’RAQ’ became ‘Karoq’. Škoda states that it was very important for them to give their new SUV a powerful name and this was in line with the naming approach across their SUV models.

XXVIII Congreso Internacional de ASELE: Lexicon and culture in LE, Tarragona, Spain, Sept. 6-9 2017

From the 6th to the 9th of September 2017, an international conference on Spanish lexicology and Applied Linguistics will be held by the Asociación para la enseñanza del español como lengua extranjera” or ASELE at the Universitat Rovira I Virgili-Tarragona, Spain. More details on the XXVIII Congreso Internacional de ASELE, the abstract submission process, and registration can be found here.

On this occasion, specialists from all over the world teaching Spanish as a foreign language will gather to study and debate about Lexicon and culture in LE / L2: corpus and dictionaries. This central theme is divided into three work blocks. The first will deal with the treatment of lexicon in the Spanish classroom as LE / L2; in the second will be addressed vocabulary and culture in the Spanish classroom as LE / L2; and the third will be centered on dictionaries and corpus in the Spanish classroom as LE / L2.