In the summer of 2023, I studied abroad at the University of Oxford (Exeter College) and pursued independent research at the intersection of cultural linguistics and visual art under the supervision of Rachel Smith, their lecturer of Art History. During the program, my supervisor and I had weekly meetings to discuss readings, construct arguments, and review my writing. I also discussed the linguistics portion of my research with Luna Filipovic, a linguistics professor at UC Davis and also a summer lecturer for Exeter.
For my independent research tutorial, I studied the impact of cultural linguistics on the way various artists personify death in their paintings. In my final paper, I address questions such as the following: how does the grammatical gender of the word “death” in different languages influence whether it is personified as a man or woman? How can an understanding of regional figures of speech help us analyze the use of color? In my research, I analyze symbolism and storytelling from paintings spanning seven countries to identify patterns between the language spoken by the artist and the way they portray death.
I would like to thank Luna Filipovic, Greg Lewis (ECSP Program Director), and Jeri Johnson (Academic Director) for all their support during this program and throughout my research project. Most of all, I could not have done this without my supervisor, Rachel Smith, and I am so so grateful for all her advice and insights she has shared with me over our meetings.