Prof. Dr. Camilla Di Biase-Dyson

Camilla Di Biase-Dyson is Junior Professor for Egyptology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and member of research group (C-2) Space and Metaphor in Cognition, Language, and Texts.

As a Topoi Junior Research Fellow from 2009-2010, Camilla Di Biase-Dyson undertook a project entitled Back(wards) to the Future, in which she investigated two ancient Egyptian spatio-temporal terms for “in front of/before” and “behind/after”. The focus of her enquiry was the meaning and potentially metaphorical qualities of these expressions, a research interest closely tied to the research group (C-I-1) Spaces in Language (Topoi 1). Her research in this area was developed further from 2010-2012, when she was postdoctoral fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, based at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Her interest in the role of metaphor in semantic change led her to develop a project within Topoi 2 together with Frank Kammerzell, Grounded in space? Diachronic and cognitive approaches to spatial metaphors in written Egyptian. In this study, spatial metaphors in Ancient Egyptian texts provided a means of considering the construction, conception and development of metaphorical language. Although often considered to be entirely conventional, metaphors of path and of travel turn out to be used in extremely inventive ways in Egyptian texts, particularly the so-called ‘wisdom literature’. The mechanisms by which conventional expressions are made new consequently became a particular research focus.

The metaphorical basis of a number of spatial expressions in the Egyptian medical corpus was then subject to analysis during a research stay at Topoi in Summer 2016. Her project, The sickness within. Spatial metaphors in Ancient Egyptian medical texts, considered the potential metaphoricity of texts which describe diseases ‘entering’ and ‘exiting’ the human body.


Further Activities

9.–11. 06.2016 Talk 2016. Spatial metaphor in Ancient Egyptian medical texts: Some case studies
Part of: Temps et espace en Égypte ancienne, Louvain-la-Neuve