Topics in the Study of Gesture - Four seminars presented by Adam Kendon

24 January 2014

UCL Anthropology / 14 Taviton St / WC1H 0BW
13 & 27 February, 6 & 13 March 2014 from 12.00 – 14.00 presented by
UCL Anthropology and DCAL Research Centre

Adam Kendon Gesture Seminars

'Gesture' (“utterance-dedicated visible action”) refers to the ‘visible actions’ that people employ when saying things to one another, whether in association with speech or separately from it. We discuss the relationship between gesture and speech; its relevance for questions about the nature and limits of the concept of language; how the semiotic character of gesture alters according to how it is used in relation to other utterance modalities; the processes by which action may be transformed into symbolic or linguistic expression; how this has been treated in theories of language origins.

Adam Kendon was educated at Cambridge University (biology and experimental psychology), and at Oxford University (D. Phil., 1963). His early focus in Papua New Guinea and Australian Aboriginal sign languages, paved the way for his treatment of gesture and sign language with the same rigour as spoken languages. Kendon's interests include the study of communication conduct in face-to-face interaction and the study of gesture and sign languages and how these relate to spoken language. He has received research funds from the National Science Foundation, Washington, D. C. (twice), the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research of New York (three awards), and has been a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Kendon has held research posts at Oxford University, University of Pittsburgh, Bronx State Hospital, New York, The Australian National University, the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Studies, Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. He has held teaching appointments at the University of Oxford, Cornell University, Connecticut College, the University of Pennsylvania, University of Naples  “Orientale”, and the University of Calabria. He is editor of the journal GESTURE, published since 2001 by John Benjamins of Amsterdam. He currently holds an Honourary Professorial appointment at UCL.

Tickets are free, but space is limited. Please register per session on: https://adamkendongesture.eventbrite.co.uk


  • February 13th Seminar 1: The domain of “gesture” and a history of its study
  • February 27th Seminar 2: Gesture in collaboration with speech
  • March 6th Seminar 3: “Gesture”, “Sign” and the “language boundary”
  • March 13th Seminar 4: Gesture in language origins theories

Please note: BSL interpretation will be provided if requested at the time of booking and at least 1 week before each seminar.

Please contact Kelly Fagan Robinson with any queries (k.robinson.12@ucl.ac.uk).