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Charles Forceville, Associate Professor at the Department of Media Studies, UvA, is the guest speaker at this ACLC seminar. He will talk about “Analyzing metaphors of depression in animation films”.

Detail Summary
Date 18 October 2019
Time 16:15 - 17:30
Location P.C. Hoofthuis
ACLC seminar

Analyzing metaphors of depression in animation films

Mature multimodal research needs to account for how meaning-making depends on the affordances and constraints of the medium in which it occurs, and on the modes enabled in this medium. Hitherto, the most often-studied combination is that of visuals and written language (Bateman 2014).

Animation has over the past decades increasingly come to be acknowledged as a medium to be studied separately from live-action film (e.g., Bendazzi 2016, Wells 1998). There is, moreover, a growing awareness that animation is capable not only of providing mainstream entertainment, but also of creating thought-provoking, highly sophisticated art films and addressing serious non-fiction issues (e.g., Forceville and Jeulink 2011, Honess Roe 2013) – enabling bridges between multimodal research and cognitive science.

This paper, drawing on Forceville and Paling’s (2018) analysis of nine short films, will focus on animated representations of depression. (Fragments of) several of the films will be shown as part of the presentation. Recurring conceptual metaphors (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) that structure the films are discussed with reference to medium-specific affordances such as shape-shifting and defying real-world physical laws. In addition, attention will be paid to what the musical and sonic modes contribute to meaning-making.


Bateman, John (2014). Text and Image: A Critical Introduction to the Visual/Verbal Divide. London: Routledge.
Bendazzi, Giannalberto (2016). Animation: A World History, vol. 1: Foundations – The Golden Age. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Forceville, Charles, and Marloes Jeulink (2011). “The flesh and blood of embodied understanding: The source-path-goal schema in animation film.” Pragmatics & Cognition 19(1): 37–59.
Forceville, Charles, and Sissy Paling (2018). “The metaphorical representation of DEPRESSION in short, wordless animation films.” Journal of Visual Communication. [published ahead of print.]
Honess Roe, Annabelle (2013). Animated Documentary. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson (1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wells, Paul (1998). Understanding Animation. London: Routledge.

Personal page Charles Forceville

Location: PCH, room 3.01

P.C. Hoofthuis

Spuistraat 134
1012 VB Amsterdam

About the ACLC seminar series

The ACLC seminar series is a two weekly lecture series organized by the ACLC, research school for linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities.