Kathleen Ahrens is a Professor in the Department of English and Communication and a member of the Research Centre for Professional Communication in English at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is Chair of the Executive Board for the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (’18-’22), former President of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities (’18-’19), and a member of the International Advisory Board for the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam. She is a member of the Editorial Boards of Lingua (Elsevier), Metaphor and the Social World (Benjamins), Journal of Pragmatics (Elsevier) and Lingua Sinica (Sciendo). She is also a member of the Editorial Board for the book series Metaphor in Language, Cognition, and Communication (Benjamins). Prof Ahrens has recent papers in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, Intercultural Pragmatics, PLoS One, Journal of Pragmatics, Metaphor & Symbol, and Applied Linguistics and she has had two recent Lingua papers selected as Editor’s Choice articles. She has also edited one academic volume: Politics, Language and Conceptual Metaphors (Palgrave Macmillan). During her research career, she has gained over US$1million dollars in competitive research funding and published extensively on issues relating to critical metaphor analysis. Professor Ahrens takes an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of metaphor, running behavioural crowd-sourcing, neuro-imaging, and reaction times studies, as well as analysing metaphor use through corpus-based and ontological-based approaches.
Taking strength from the source and breaking barriers
In news and social media, women, but not men, are faced with metaphorical glass ceilings and, more recently, glass cliffs. These metaphors refer to women have difficulty advancing and maintaining their professional roles in the business world. But what about the quotidian metaphors that rely on the WAR or PLANT source domain? Are there gendered associations for these source domains as well? This talk will examine this question, drawing upon recent work that uses ontologies and collocational patterns to determine source domain usage (Ahrens & Jiang 2020). In addition, I will look at the metaphorical choices made by women in politics, with a focus on exploring how expectations regarding these gender associations for metaphors are used by women to position themselves in various leadership roles.
© 2022, 15th Researching and Applying Metaphor Conference