Louise Krasniewicz

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20042005 Forum on Sleep and Dreams

Louise Krasniewicz

Senior Research Scientist, Penn Museum

Dreaming Arnold Schwartzenegger

For twenty years, Dr. Krasniewicz and her colleague Michael Blitz (CUNY) have been conducting research on the importance of American cultural icons, in particular, Arnold Schwartzenegger. Part of this work has been published as a book, Why Arnold Matters: The Rise of a Cultural Icon (2004). This project had particular bearing on the analysis of the 2003 California recall election. 

In the course of conducting their research, Dr. Krazniewicz and her colleague experienced a surprising side effect: they found they dreamed regularly about Mr. Schwartznegger. They began to carefully document those dreams as a source of “peripheral” data. They posit, drawing from the work of the late Bert States, that dreams might work as a sort of “metaphor machine” that constructs new, perhaps more creative connections in cultural work. Avoiding more traditional methods of dream analysis, the researchers have used cognitive science and linguistic theory in order to consider dreams as an attempt at the categorization of new experience and information.