Research in Interdisciplinary Studies

L758 — Spring 2018

Wylie Hall 111
Days and Times
11:15-2:15 M
Course Description

Topic: Literature of Embodied Cognition; My hope for this seminar is to provide students with vocabularies and methodologies focusing on an understanding of literature as addressed to beings with particular sets of perceptual affordances. As such, well be drawing on critical accounts that focus on embodiment as the medium of literary and experiential response, in particular, phenomenology and cognitive studies. Our guides in navigating thoughts entanglement with embodied sense will include Mark Johnson (The Meaning of the Body), Katherine Hayles (Unthought), Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Phenomenology of Perception), Alva Noe (Action in Perception), Jane Bennett (Vibrant Matter) and cognitive accounts by Lisa Zunshine and Blakey Vermeule, among others. Our primary texts will be drawn from the Romantic period, not only because thats my specialty, but because the epoch saw the emergence of a new concept of the literary that took the territory of the embodied senses as its main field of play. Well thus the consider the connection between revolutionary developments in the brain science of the period and poetic investments in alternate states of consciousness such as reverie and vision; the continuity of Coleridges experiments in sensory variation and his literary output; Jane Austens mastery of free indirect discourse and its connection to cognitive accounts of mind, as well as cognitive rewritings of the concept of character; and the Gothics narrative of sensory overload and bodily danger. In addition to ample selections from the poetry of the period, well read Emma, Radcliffes The Italian, James Hoggs Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and de Quinceys Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts. Students will be asked to prepare one presentation/discussion and a seminar paper of 20-25 pp. Will count towards the Literature and Science Minor Instructor: Nick Williams

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