Northern Illinois University

Northern Today


August 31, 2009


NIU anthropologist Giovanni Bennardo has a new book out through Cambridge University Press.

“Language, Space, and Social Relationships: A Foundational Cultural Model in Polynesia” examines the relationship between language and the mental organization of knowledge, based on the results of Bennardo’s fieldwork project carried out in the Kingdom of Tonga.

The study of the relationship between language and thought, and how this apparently differs between cultures and social groups, is a rapidly expanding area of inquiry.

Bennardo’s book challenges some existing assumptions in linguistics, cognitive anthropology and cognitive science and proposes a new foundational cultural model, known as radiality, to show how space, time and social relationships are expressed both linguistically and cognitively.


Deborah Smith-Shank, professor of art education, was selected as a representative to the World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) Summit that will take place in Newcastle, England, from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.

The 2009 summit has two primary aims:

  • to prepare the WAAE’s contribution to the 2010 UNESCO World Conference in Arts Education
  • to develop the relationship between creative pedagogies and the cultivation of knowledge-based societies that nurture sustainable development, global solidarity, cooperation and human rights through strategic partnerships between the WAAE, industry, civil society and government representatives.