OSL Symposium: New Perspectives on Literature and the Brain

Date: 6 May 2022 | Time: 13:00-16:00 | Venue: Perdu, Kloveniersburgwal 86, Amsterdam / Hybrid | Open to: PhDs and RMA students; OSL members have first access | Credits: 1-2 EC |

Registration opened on February 2, 2022

During the first two decades of what many define “the century of the brain”, literary studies have increasingly engaged with new developments from neuroscience and cognitive studies. A growing number of literary scholars, for example, has fruitfully engaged with the novel perspectives offered by 4e cognition — namely the idea that our cognitive processes are embodied in the physical world, embedded in specific contexts, extended into the surrounding environment, and enactive in their relation with the environment. How exactly can these recent findings shed new light on literary texts? And how can literature, in turn, help us better understand the human brain/mind?



12:50-13:00  Walk-in

13:00-13:05  Introduction (Alberto Godioli, OSL Programme Director)

13:05-13:35  Paul B. Armstrong (Brown University), ‘The Neuroscience of Literary Time-Travel: How Literary Works Cross Historical Distance’

13:35-14:05  Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo), ‘Cognitive Formalism: How Presence Machines are Built’

14:05-14:20  Q&A

14:20-14:35  Coffee break

14:35-15:05  Marco Caracciolo (Ghent University), ‘Literature, the Brain, and the End of the World’

15:05-15:35  Pablo Valdivia (University of Groningen / OSL Academic Director), ‘Cultural Physics of Defamiliarization, Learning and Reading’

15:35-16:00  Q&A and wrap-up


Abstracts, Readings and Bios


Assignments: In order to obtain 1EC, participants will have to submit a short report (approx. 1000 words) about one of the presentations. The report should contain at least three references to relevant readings (including those suggested by the selected presenter); it should summarize the key points made in the chosen presentation, and reflect on possible (related) ideas for future research. Participants are also welcome to discuss how the presentation relates to their own lines of research. It is also possible to obtain an extra EC by submitting an additional report on a second presentation, following the same format. All reports should be submitted to osl@rug.nl by 6 June 2022, end of day.

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