Call: Cognitive Futures in the Humanities conference



We invite proposals for 20 minute papers and preformed panels for the second international conference associated with the research network, Cognitive Futures in the Humanities, funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. The conference will be hosted by Durham University, on 24-26 April 2014.

The purpose is to explore, and critically evaluate, new ways of working in the arts and humanities that respond to concepts developed in the sciences of mind and brain. It will be an interdisciplinary conference for researchers from the cognitive sciences, philosophy, literary studies, linguistics, narratology, cultural studies, critical theory, film, performance studies, and beyond. The aim is to identify how the ‘cognitive humanities’ can emerge as a dynamic and critical field of enquiry.

Topics relevant to the conference include (but are not limited to):

  • Cognitive neuroscience and the arts
  • Language, meaning and cognitive processing
  • Embodied cognition
  • Phenomenology of technologies
  • Cognitive poetics and interpretation
  • Social minds
  • Theory of mind and mind-blindness
  • The Bayesian brain
  • Conceptual blending and creativity
  • Empirical aesthetics
  • Extended cognition Ideology and the cognitive sciences
  • Cognitive approaches to visual culture
  • Thinking and feeling in narrative
  • Cognitive historicism
  • Animal consciousness and perspective
  • Objects, artifacts and print culture

The following themed sessions will be organised as part of the programme, with a leading specialist serving as a respondent. Please indicate if you would like your paper to be considered for one of these:

A) Interdisciplinarity in Theory and Practice
B) The Extended Mind
C) Theatre and Performance
D) Storyworlds and Fictionality
E) Brains, Culture and Mental Pathology

Submission Details

Please send 250-word proposals to by 1st December 2013. Abstracts should be included as Word file attachments, and be anonymised. Please indicate clearly in your email whether your abstract is to be considered for a paper or as part of a panel, and if intended for one of the themed sessions, including the name of presenter(s), university affiliation(s) and email address(es). Proposers can expect to hear if their abstract has been accepted by January 2014, and registration will open soon afterwards.

There will be 2 fee-waiver bursaries available for postgraduates, awarded on a competitive basis. If you wish to apply, please add a 100-word statement to your proposal explaining how your research contributes to the developing field of the cognitive humanities.

Please direct any queries to the conference organiser, Dr Peter Garratt (

Further details about the Cognitive Futures network, project team, steering group, and past events can be found on the project site,


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