[Msa-discuss] British Modernities Group CFP

Barber, Claire E cbarber3 at illinois.edu
Fri Nov 18 15:40:20 EST 2011

Dear MSA Members,

I thought this CFP might be of interest to you, particularly to graduate students.  Please distribute as you see fit.

Many thanks,

Claire Barber
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
cbarber3 at illinois.edu<mailto:cbarber3 at illinois.edu>

Call for Papers and Posters:

“Modern Brains: Literary Studies and the Cognitive Sciences”

British Modernities Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
March 9-10, 2012

Keynote Speakers:

David Herman, Department of English, The Ohio State University

Kara D. Federmeier; Department of Psychology, Program in
Neuroscience, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The British Modernities Group invites graduate students to present papers and posters at its seventh annual conference: “Modern Brains: Literary Studies and the Cognitive Sciences.” This conference will incorporate presentations from faculty and graduate students in a variety of disciplines, including English, neuroscience, psychology, and linguistics. Keynote presentations from David Herman, Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English, and Kara D. Federmeier, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, will emphasize the importance of dialogue between the humanities and the sciences.  We seek innovative research that studies language or literature from the perspective of cognitive science and/or research that utilizes cognitive approaches to modern and contemporary British literature (1800–present). The conference will ultimately explore the characteristics, objectives, and productive potential of the methodology now called “cognitive literary criticism.”

Literary studies has long engaged with psychology and psychoanalysis, but a growing movement proposes that practitioners in this discipline must account for new information provided by the cognitive sciences as to how our bodies engage with their environments. These environments include the historical, social, and cultural contexts with which feminism, queer theory, and disability studies have long engaged. Conversely, many cognitive scientists take literature and language itself as the objects of their research. This research finds significant challenges in literary texts, and approaching scientific findings from a literary perspective can enrich the study of both literature and the brain.

This conference is interested in exploring such questions as:  How does cognitive processing affect the production and reception of literature and language? What are the characteristics of this new wave of literary and cultural criticism, and how can critics utilize the skills of literary analysis to challenge or build on scientific findings? How is the development of cultures, societies, histories, and literary texts affected by cognitive or neural structures?  How can we think of nature less as the binary opposite of culture and more “as a category that has its own history,” as Alan Richardson and Francis Steen do? Finally, why might cognitive approaches to literature have specific relevance to the study of modern British literature, as opposed to literature from other periods?

We invite papers and posters that consider the following perspectives on language, literature, and cognitive science:

Theory of mind
Social interaction
Disability, sex/gender, race
Language processing
Cognitive poetics or narratology
Metaphors of mind
Cartesian dualism and the mind/brain distinction
Figurative language

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be submitted to modernities at gmail.com<mailto:modernities at gmail.com> by December 20, 2011.  Please include your name, along with your departmental and institutional affiliations.  Accepted papers and posters will be notified by January 20, 2012. Please visit our website, http://modernities.wordpress.com/, for more information about the BMG.

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