Cognitive Futures: Forging Futures from the Past: History and Cognition

cognitive futures

Building on the work of the Cognitive Futures network in Bangor (2013) and Durham (2014: the 2015 conference aims once again to bring together a wide array of papers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, narratology, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance studies and beyond.

The guiding question behind the conference will be the relative demands of universality and historicity in studies of cognition: how much historical specificity can and should a cognitive approach to culture take into account?; how might cognitive universals benefit from sociohistorical particulars?; what are the opportunities that cognitivism brings to ‘traditional’, historicist and poststructuralist inquiry?; is there a middle ground between a non-intentionalist, phylogenetic, cognitive evolutionary history and a literary history driven by human agency and subjectivity?

We invite responses to these large questions to bear on cognitive topics such as mindreading/mentalizing; embodiment; ‘bio’ narratives/biocentrism; movement/kinesis; space/navigation; the self/subjectivity/qualia; perception and memory; bilingualism/multilingualism; translation; performance; affect and emotion; neuro-phenomenology; neuro-aesthetics. Other issues and topics relevant to the conference include, but are not limited to, the following:

Deep time, Deep history, Big history.
Adaptation devices.
Sociohistorical analyses of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive literary criticism.
The biologization of culture
Postcolonial/cross-cultural perspectives on the cognitive.
The linguistic turn and the cognitive turn
Cognitive disability and mental illness.

Confirmed plenary speakers: Hans Adler (Wisconsin); Paul Armstrong (Brown); Terence Cave (Oxford); Melba Cuddy-Keane (Toronto); John Neubauer (Amsterdam).


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This conference is supported by the Unconscious Memory network and Comparative Criticism programme.


Unconscious Memory
Comparative Criticism and Translation
Medical Humanities

Audience: Open to all