Since becoming more involved in the name community, I've wondered - is there a field of study that focuses on names? I'm an academic at heart - BA in History of Art, French Lit minor, Dec 2013, UC Berkeley - and I'd love to find classes or some kind of program to study names.
However, I haven't been too successful. Here are some of the sites I've come across:
First, to Wikipedia!
Onomastics - An excellent definition, but not too much more information.
Anthroponymy - More specific in what I'm interested in, but still not great.
George R. Stewart - Cool, a Berkeley reference. Interesting fact - he "prompted the National Weather Service to use personal names to designate storms".
Now to societies!
American Name Society - "The American Name Society was founded in 1951 to promote onomastics, the study of names and naming practices, both in the United States and abroad. It is a non-profit organization that seeks to find out what really is in a name, and to investigate cultural insights, settlement history, and linguistic characteristics revealed in names."
English Place-Name Society - "The EPNS was established in 1923 to conduct a county-by-county survey of the place-names of England." It's connected to the University of Nottingham, so I'm glad to see an academic reference.
Guild of One-Name Studies - "The Guild will strengthen its position as the centre of excellence for surname studies by educating the worldwide genealogical community in one-name studies and empowering members to share their knowledge and expertise." Genealogy and surnames, but not too much about first names.
International Council of Onomastic Sciences - Excellent! Academia! Wish I had known about the conference earlier, I would love to attend their symposium in Paris this December.
Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland - "A society devoted to the study of names (place-names, personal names, and other names) from linguistic, historical, and sociological perspectives". So I'm seeing a lot of conferences, but no real singular departments. I guess I should have expected names to be more interdisciplinary!
Dictionary of Names from Medieval European Sources - An excellent site that I discussed at length on my blog yesterday.
But are there classes?
Academic Courses on Onomastics - This thorough PDF lists classes in Great Britain, Croatia, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden and the Czech Republic - at least, as of 2002. I do notice that many of the courses fall under the relevant language departments - Scandinavian, English, etc.
But nothing in the USA!
Any more information on onomastics and its academic presence would be really appreciated! I'm wondering if working with a language or literature department and creating an interdisciplinary Masters or PhD in Anthroponymy would be possible?