24-26 October 2013: KNAW Conference Diversity and Universals in Language, Culture, and Cognition

[ 0 ] October 24, 2013 |

On 24-26 October, the KNAW Conference Diversity and Universals in Language, Culture, and Cognition will take place at Leiden University. This event will bring together leading experts from linguistics, anthropology, cognitive science and neighboring fields to pursue answers to questions concerning diversity and universals in human behavior.

Within the various disciplines of humanities different thoughts exist about the weight of universal aspects of human cognition, language, and culture (universalism) and of aspects specific to a particular people or to a certain tradition (relativism). Broadly speaking, whereas within anthropology relativism dominates, within linguistics opinions are strongly divided, while many cognitive scientists (particularly in the corner of neurocognition) take a universal position. In this conference the various dimensions of this controversy will be highlighted in terms of conceptual frameworks, empirical evidence, and research methodology.

A trio of KNAW conferences on Language Diversity

This conference is the last to be organized in a series of  three sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The first conference Patterns of Diversification and Contact: A Global Perspective was held in Amsterdam in December 2012, the second  was held in Groningen on July 18-20, 2013, with the theme Patterns of Macro- and Micro-Diversity in the Languages of Europe and the Middle East. Computational Issues in Studying Language Diversity: Storage, Analysis and Inference.

The purpose of the conference series is to identify, coordinate and enrich the Netherlands’ research potential in the area of language diversity by strengthening the multidisciplinary approach and getting inspired by contemporary cutting edge research. The aim is to put this research at the foreground of the Dutch research agenda and make the Dutch citizen aware of it.


The mornings of this three-day conference will be dedicated to plenary lectures. In the afternoons two parallel workshops will take place on specific topics concerning language, culture, and cognition.

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