From the Brain to Human Culture:
Intersections between the Humanities and Neuroscience
An interdisciplinary conference sponsored by the Comparative Humanities
Program at Bucknell University to be held at
Lewisburg, PA, USA
April 20-21, 2007
Confirmed Plenary Speakers:
Prof. Andy Clark,
Dept. of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh
Prof. Michael Gazzaniga
Dept. of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara
Papers (20 minutes) and/or panels (maximum of four speakers) are solicited
for an interdisciplinary conference examining the intersections between
recent work in the humanities and neurosciences. In the past decade, the
various branches of neuroscience (as well as linguistics, sociobiology and
other fields) have begun to take up the ethical, artistic and behavioral
questions that were previously thought to be the province of scholars in
the humanities and to challenge the centrality of learned human behavior in
these and other areas. Scholars such as Simon Baron-Cohen, Marc Hauser, and
Steven Pinker (among many others) have begun to provide scientific accounts
of ethical phenomena and neuroscientific research has coined new
subdisciplinary fields such as "neuroethics," and "neuroaesthetics."
Scholars in the humanities, in their turn, have begun to produce
critical-philosophical accounts of the claims of these scholars and new
work on subjects such extended consciousness, artificial intelligence,
robotics, and the effects of digital culture on human subjectivity and
cultural production. The purpose of this conference will be to explore the
status of this important debate at the present time
We especially encourage papers that cross conventional disciplinary lines
and/or that directly address the scholarly, institutional, and practical
consequences of the ways in which the humanities and sciences are
interacting at present. Papers from across the whole range of both the
humanities (art, religion, literature, philosophy, film studies, history,
languages, etc.) and neuroscience and its related fields (psychology,
cognitive science, physiology, animal behavior, organismal and evolutionary
biology, etc.) are welcome.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of the panels and audience, we ask that
potential presenters be aware that they will not just be addressing
specialists in their field. Selected papers from the conference will be
considered for publication in an edited book in the Aperçus: Histories
Texts Cultures series from Bucknell University Press.
Among the possible themes for papers and panels are:
- can new disciplines like "neuroethics" work alongside traditional
humanistic modes of enquiry or is conflict between the two inevitable?
- what have the humanities done to respond to these new developments in the
- what new configurations of the relationship between the sciences and the
humanities could be made possible by this new work?
- how are questions of culture (human activity in the world) being related
to the activities of the mind and brain in new and productive ways? And
- how does neuroscientific study affect the way we understand the reception
of books, films, and digital media?
- how are "rationality" and "emotion" seen as part of human decision making
process by humanists and neuroscientists?
- how has recent research in evolutionary biology and psychology affected
our perceptions of cultural productions?
Please send a 500-word abstract and CV as an email attachment to:
Prof. John Hunter
Comparative Humanities Program
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Submissions via regular mail will be accepted if necessary. Comments and
inquiries to the above address are welcome.
DEADLINE:December 15th, 2006.
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