Conference: IHC, “The Humanities, The Neurosciences, and the Brain”

 

Rene Descartes, illustration of mind/body dualism

UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center continues its year-long focus on the humanities and the brain in a conference entitled “The Humanities, The Neurosciences, and the Brain.”  This conference, held on UCSB’s campus from May 12-13, features Gabrielle Starr as the keynote speaker, and includes presentations by graduate students affiliated with Literature and the Mind.

From the IHC description:  “This interdisciplinary conference will exploring the multiple accords, and discords, that characterize humanistic and neuroscientific approaches to the study of the brain…. Participants will explore creative framings of neuroscientific inquiry through humanistic perspectives, as well as artistic explorations of inner states and mental landscapes.”

The conference is free and open to the public.  You can find more information, including information about registering to attend, here.

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Thursday, May 12, 2016
9:00 AM coffee and pastries

9:15 AM Welcome: Susan Derwin, Director, IHC

9:30 AM Panel 1: Sight and Sound
Katie Adkison, English, UCSB, “Speaking What We Feel: The Sense of Speech in King Lear”
Chip Badley, English, UCSB, “’If not in the Word, in the Sound’: Sound, Affect, Frederick Douglass”
Cole Cohen, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB, “Merleau-Ponty and Me: The Phenomenology of Neurodiversity”

10:30 AM break

10:45 AM Sight and Sound continued
Phillip Grayson, Literature, St. John’s University, “At The Edge of Evening, Often Forever: Extramission, Consciousness, Literature”
Ery Shin, English, Eureka College, “Imaging the Mind in Literary Contexts”

12:00 PM lunch

 12:45 PM Panel 2: Sociality, Intersubjectivity, Empathy
Corinne Bancroft, English, UCSB, “The Face of Friendship in Louise Erdrich’s Fiction”
Ksenia Federova, Cultural Studies, UC Davis, “Identity Transactions and Interpersonal Dynamics in Art and Science”
Cheryl Jaworski, English, UCSB, “The Embodied Mind and ‘the Demon of Domesticity’ in Dickens’s Dombey and Son

2:15 PM break

2:30 PM Panel 3: Theories of Mind, Machines and Mechanical Metaphors
Hannes Bend, Quantum Physics Aleman Lab and Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, “Metaverses/Myndful”
Jennifer Duggan, English, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, “The Victorians and the Mechanical Brain”
Melissa M. Littlefield, English and Kinesiology & Community Health, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “Public Displays of Arousal: EEG Wearables and the Fashioning of Instrumental Intimacy”

4:00 PM break

4:15 PM Panel 4: Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Historical Influences
Louis Caron, History and Religious Studies, UCSB, “Some Observations on the History of Neuroscience, and on Thomas Willis, the First Neurologist”
Jap-Nanak Makkar, English, University of Virginia, “Libet’s Missing ½ Second, Digital Technology, and Political Critique”
Robert Samuels, Writing Program, UCSB, “Damasio’s Error: The Humanities Between Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience”

5:45 PM reception

Friday, May 13, 2016
8:30 AM coffee and pastries

8:45 AM Welcome

 9:00 AM Panel 5: Altered States
Elliott D. Ihm, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UCSB, “Neurocognitive Foundations of Self-Transcendent Experiences:  A Speculative Predictive Coding Account”
Brianna K. Morseth, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UCSB, “To Forget the Self: Religious, Cultural, and Neuroscientific Dimensions of Ego Death through Contemplative Practice”
D.C. McGuire, Neuroscience Researcher, “Neuroscience Offers Humanity’s Second Chance”

10:30 AM break

10:45 AM Keynote: Gabrielle Starr, English, New York University, author of Feeling Beauty
“Pleasure and Form: Chasing Imagination”

12:15 PM lunch

 1:00 PM Panel 6: Memory and the Creation of Consciousness
Jacob Burg, English, Brandeis University, “Reading Forgetful Minds: The Social Brain in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant
Wallace Chafe, Linguistics, UCSB, “Immediate versus Displaced Thinking”
Rebecca Chenoweth, English, UCSB, “Remembering ‘The Best of England’ from the Periphery of War in The Remains of the Day
Sara Pankenier Weld, Germanic & Slavic Studies, UCSB, “The Birth of Consciousness: Andrei Bely’s Modernist Pseudo-Autobiography”

 3:00 PM Closing remarks

 

Image: Rene Descartes, illustration of mind/body dualism from “Meditations on First Philosophy” (duplicated)

Conference: Third NeuroHumanities Dialogue, “Ars et Ingenium: The Processes of Imagination”

 Literature and the Mind is excited to spread the news about “Ars et Ingenium: The Process of Imagination,” the third NeuroHumanities Dialogue, coming May 26-28 in Catania, Italy.  This dialogue is organized by by the NewHums Research Center–Neurocognitive Studies of the University of Catania (Italy), the International NeuroHumanities Studies Network, and the Lamberto Puggelli Foundation.  For further details, please see the poster below, and the official website here.

Third NeuroHumanities Dialogue

Undergraduate Course: Crazy Talk: Memoirs of Madness

Unknown illustrator and Rodolfo Fucile

Instructor: Aranye Fradenburg

Course: ENGL 197

Time: Spring 2016, 9:30-10:45, MF

This class focuses on the experience of madness (schizophrenia, depression, bipolar illness, and borderline personality disorder); its expression in the form of the memoir; and the role of autobiographical discourse in changing minds.  Trauma Warning:  the material in these course texts and topics of class discussion could be traumatizing.  Do not take this class if you have concerns about your ability to tolerate unhappy and sometimes outrageous subjects.

This small seminar requires regular class participation, one seminar presentation one 2-3 page paper, and one 7-10 page paper.  The course will cover memoirs and fictionalized memoirs, including the following texts:

D. P. Schreiber, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness.  Daniel Paul Schreber was the son of a famous pediatrician and later became a prominent attorney and judge in 19th-century Germany.  The Memoirs of his mental illness became the topic of an important case study by Sigmund Freud.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.  Sylvia Plath is one of the USA’s best 20th-century poets; Ariel is perhaps her best-known book of poems.  The Bell Jar  is a somewhat fictionalized memoir that tells the story of Esther Greenwood’s first episode of major depressive disorder.

Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted.  Susanna Kaysen was the daughter of one of John F. Kennedy’s economic advisors and is now a novelist.  Her memoir of her institutionalization for borderline personality disorder became the film Girl, Interrupted, starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.

Kay Jamison, An Unquiet Mind.  Kay Jamison is a clinical psychologist, Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, and Honorary Professor of English at St. Andrews University.  Her book An Unquiet Mind explores the experience of bipolar illness.

Elyn Saks, The Center Cannot Hold.  Elyn Saks is Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.  She is also a MacArthur Fellow.  The Center Cannot Hold tells the story of the onset of her schizophrenia.

Image credit: unknown illustrator, “The Bell Jar;” Rodolfo Fucile, “El Caso Schreber”

 

 

Undergraduate Course: Cognitive Dickens

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Instructor: Kay Young

Course: ENGL 170 CD

Time: Spring 2016, MW 1:00-2:15 PM

Charles Dickens is the great English novelist of identity “wounded by mystery.”   Dickens narrates the rupture of parent from child as a psychic drama in relation to which his particular realism, his novel of the orphan and of detective fiction, work in reflective embodiment.   In this course we’ll explore how Dickens’s response to the questions, “Who am I?” and “What are my origins?” and “To whom do I belong?” and “What is mine?” lead to new sounds in his psychologizing of the 19th-century English novel—in the lived narrative experience of being the orphan who asks those questions and in what forms of cognitive processing the narrative uses to answer them.   We’ll read David CopperfieldBleak House, and Great Expectations  in conjunction with works of attachment theory and cognitive science.

Image: “Charles Dickens’ Legacy to the World” (detail)

Featured Minds: Julie Carlson Profiled in UCSB Current

Mary Shelley portrait by Rothwell

Julie’s work on Mary Shelley was recently profiled by Jim Logan in the UC Santa Barbara Current.  Follow the link here for a brief look at Julie’s focus on Mary Shelley’s writing and intellectual exchange; and see the quoted passage below for a glimpse into Literature and the Mind’s view of art as a means of surviving and thriving:

“She’s known for ‘Frankenstein’ or she’s known as part of this group of people whose lives are so fascinating,” Carlson added. “Both things are true. My work emphasizes the ongoing connections that she forges between the two — between the texts that she writes and the people whom she loves, fights and mourns. For the legacy of Mary Shelley is her belief that survival is a matter of persons being enlivened by texts that house the remains of bookish creatures.”

Those of us on campus at UCSB will be familiar with Julie’s work on friendship and Romantic literature from her co-presentation on “The Humanities and the Neurosciences” at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center last quarter, and our reading of Julie’s work alongside Aranye Fradenburg’s work in “A Playful Conversation” (co-sponsored by UCSB’s Early Modern Center) in the fall.  If you are interested in participating in future reading groups and receiving notifications of upcoming events, please email litandmind@gmail.com to sign up.

Image: Mary Shelley’s portrait by Richard Rothwell (detail)

Live Minds: New Texts and Open Access from Punctum Books

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We have exciting news from our friends at punctum books.  Please read their press release (produced in full below) about their innovative approach to open access, reader patronage, and extending intellectual life beyond the university library system.

Someone, or some distributive collectives of someones, needs to take responsibility for securing the [necessary] freedom for the greatest number of persons possible who want to participate in intellectual-cultural life, and for enabling the greatest possible number of forms of such life, thereby also ensuring the creative robustness of the larger social systems within which we are all enfolded together, whether university, whiskey bar, apartment building, city park, subway car, kitchen, church, cruise ship, bedroom, or polis. A publisher is a person, or a group, or a collective, or a multiplicity, or a consortium, or a desiring-assemblage, who accepts responsibility for this.

(Eileen A. Joy, “A Time for Radical Hope”)

Dear Friends,

Today punctum launches a new platform for distributing our titles, which we are calling (for lack of a more elegant phrasing) Graduated Open Access. By way of how this all looks and works, we are also thrilled to announce the publication today of The Digital Humanist: A Critical Inquiry, written by Domenico Fiormonte, Teresa Numerico, and Francesca Tomasi, and translated from the Italian by Desmond Schmidt and Christopher Ferguson (more on which below). Our new platform is inspired by Library Consortium models such as Knowledge Unlatched and Open Library of Humanities, and it has been developed to assist punctum (and any other Open Access publishers who may want to adopt a similar model) in creating sustainable share economies that could be counted upon to better irrigate our growing (yet always threatened) Open Commons — not only with tender feelings, but also with the sort of resources that would give us some hope of more open futures.

More practically speaking, under punctum’s new Graduated Open Access platform, the downloadable PDF of each title published from this date forward will carry a reasonable fee ($5.00) for a temporary period of 6 months, after which period each title will be fully unlocked and made available for free download (all existing titles that are already completely open will remain that way). Each title will still carry a Creative Commons license that will allow it to be shared and distributed and remixed at no cost, with no restrictions (except that all further uses be non-commercial), and the bottom line is that, little by little, and with everyone’s help, the open archive of punctum titles will continue to grow in leaps and bounds. (We want to make clear here as well that punctum allows its authors to devise the copyright license that is right for them.) In addition, we are adding a series of subscription options that will allow readers to pay as little as $10.00 per month to access all punctum titles as soon as they are published, and to also affirm themselves as ongoing patrons of the Open Commons.

The primary idea here is that Open Access publishing won’t work without at least some reader support (and this will also eventually include the involvement of institutional libraries as well), and the current format of asking for a donation of any amount at the point of download — while we are grateful to everyone who has generously made donations — has not proven sufficient to address our growing needs. For example, we have a staff of 4 co-directors, a web developer, book designers, associate editors, proofreaders — all of these currently working on an ad hoc, volunteer basis, and we also want to be able to compensate authors as well. The labor that goes into design, marketing, and everything else that punctum does for its authors and readers requires support at a level far beyond what we currently enjoy. (We continue, as always, to also seek support from various institutions, such as universities, and foundations.) Open Access publishing will not survive, especially in the American context, without government, institutional, and foundational subsidies, and we at punctum very much want to avoid the author-pay system that appears to be endemic now throughout Europe, such that large sums of money are being set aside (such as by Research Councils UK, in the wake of the recommendations of the Finch Report) to pay commercial and university presses to publish open-access monographs, edited volumes, and journals at exorbitant rates that are based on exceedingly bloated “business-as-usual” pricing structures. We believe that this poses a potential impediment to access to publication for many authors and projects, and we hope our readers will be willing to lend some small support to the sustenance of Open Access publishing. We should be willing to pay reasonable prices for things we really want and need (whether that is a book, a journal issue, a song download, a TV series, a software app, and so on), unless we want to live in a world where companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon own all of the content and all of the tools and toys and don’t ultimately care how any of this relates to democracy and a thriving Open Commons, and who will quickly dump any platforms for making content available if it doesn’t suit their ever-evolving-at-hyper-speed business plans.

To put an even finer point on this, unlike in Europe and in other countries, there are no explicit funding mandates in the United States, either at state or national levels, for the cultivation of Open Access publishing within the so-called “academic” scene (although there have been calls from within institutions such as Harvard and the University of California to move in this direction). Currently, many university publishers and Digital Humanities Centers are looking to foundations like Mellon for help with developing the initial infrastructure for projects such as Manifold Scholarship, a joint project between University of Minnesota Press and CUNY Graduate Center’s Digital Scholarship Lab, and Luminos + Collabra, University of California Press’s new Open Access Monographs and Mega-Journal platforms. In the case of the latter, it is hoped that long-term sustainability will be achieved through a combination of authors+home universities, libraries, and the publisher itself sharing the cost of producing the titles up front, and/or through Article Processing Charges. And thus the troubling question obtains, especially in the American context where state legislatures are slashing budgets for higher education and university managerial technocrats are increasingly uninterested in helping to sponsor experimental, speculative, and “useless” scholarship: If there is, for example, currently no money to be had for say, creating more tenure lines or reducing class sizes or supporting faculty development (such as through travel grants, reductions in teaching loads, and the like) or making tuition affordable for all or adequately compensating graduate student assistants, and the like, then where is the money coming from to sustain these new publishing initiatives into the long term? The answer is: from nowhere … at least, not right now. And let us be emphatic here: as stated above, we at punctum are adamantly against the author-pay system, as we believe that does severe damage to the health of what might be called the biodiversity of Public Thought.

More troubling still, as Gary Hall and Janneke Adema (Open Humanities Press) have recently written, “Open access is currently being positioned and promoted by policy makers, funders and commercial publishers alike primarily as a means of serving the knowledge economy and helping to stimulate market competition. This version has become so dominant that even those on the left of the political spectrum who are critical of open access are presenting it in much the same terms: as merely assisting with the ongoing process of privatising knowledge, research and the university” (for a critique of this state of affairs, see the shortly forthcoming punctum title Knowledge, Spirit, Law by Gavin Keeney, and for one of its neoliberal manifestations, see Palgrave Open). At a conference this past summer that Hall and Adema convened under the rubric of “RadicalOA,” there was a lot of emphasis on publishing as a practice of care (of persons, of ideas, of relations), on the technological fragilities of the Open Access enterprise and the Digital Humanities more largely, on the ways in which we need to guard against technological determinism and overly simplistic “catching-up” narratives tied to the privatization of everything, on the precarious labor practices involved with Open Access publishing and how to be more mindful of and strategic about that, on how we need to resist “prestige” ranking systems, on cultivating writing as risk/adventure, on promoting invention/intervention over “innovation” (a term toxified through its use within capitalist ventures), on how to resist the neoliberal uptake of Open Access by commercial presses while also collectively strategizing how to survive that state of affairs, and somewhat interestingly, everyone seemed invested in preserving the print book while also exploring new platforms for digitized interactive-networked forms of scholarship and publication (and we at punctum believe this hybrid approach is a valuable stand against the hyper-aggressive planned obsolescence of everything that seems endemic within neoliberal capitalism).

So this brings us back to why we are launching our new Graduated Open Access platform — because we are working on futures, and not on profits that exceed what we need to be comfortable, and because these futures can only be realized through Mutual Aid. Emphasis on the Plural. We must aid each other; we must help each other to realize our life works. Further, there is no, and never can be, just one future. Of necessity, certain futures will materialize and others will only emerge partially and still others will be suppressed, outright stomped upon, etc. Our job in the present is to try to keep all options in play and to maximize what is possible over what is determined in advance (usually by the powerful) to (supposedly) not be possible. This is an ethical, as well as a political, project, and it is not one that could ever be made to be “profitable,” although it could be sustainable if enough persons — in the administrative towers of academe, in the state legislatures, in the gilt halls of the (hopefully socially-minded) privileged, and also in the streets — banded together to make it a reality. And this is why we are hoping our readers will embrace the new platform, and thus aid us in fostering a more rowdily vibrant and promiscuous Open Commons (on which front, see also Eileen’s essay “Let Us Now Stand Up for Bastards: The Importance of Illegitimate Publics”).

And thus we also think it is important to underscore (yet again) the core mission of punctum books, and why we also think what we are doing is truly different from any existing university press and even from most experimental academic presses (although we have our allies and heroes, such as Open Humanities Pressre.pressMediaCommons Press, and Meson Press, among others): We are an Open Access press, not just because we make our titles broadly available to the public (to readers) without exorbitant fees and high paywalls (although we do do that, and it matters, especially in the context of public universities where research should never be shuttered from the public), but because we are dedicated to opening up access to the means of publication for authors who otherwise might not find a publisher, either because their work does not fit within a readily recognizable current disciplinary paradigm, or because they want to experiment with the forms and styles of academic writing, or because their work engages in disciplinary mashups that would make marketing their work overly difficult and so on. It’s a question of personal freedom and how the publisher (however defined: university-based, independent, etc.) is an agent of both sustenance and change. It’s about recognizing that the university, and especially the humanities, should be the haven par excellence for the weirdos and for the weird and for the care and curation as well of “seeding” new publics (in Michael Warner’s words, public-ation as “the poeisis of scene-making”), around which persons, who otherwise might become marginalized, suppressed, lost, etc., can “groupify” (in important counter-cultural modes) with others who share certain predilections, values, orientations, affinities, etc.

And the reason why we are hoping you will want to help us with this is because we have been working so hard for about four years now with no external support whatsoever to secure the space that is so necessary for others to do exactly the sort of work they want to do (as opposed to doing the work they are often subtly, and not so subtly, coerced into doing), and at a time when more traditional university and commercial academic presses are simply not adequately wired to help provide for such space that hasn’t already been deemed in advance to be “profitable,” “marketable,” “trending,” “dominant,” etc. Because the future of academic publishing cannot be just one thing, or one wagon, that we all have to get on (or risk being left behind), and it won’t be secured by funneling all of the money into corporate entities (such as commercial academic publishers like Taylor & Francis) that have no real concern for the public commons other than the profits to be gained thereby, and because we don’t want our work to be shaped by forces that have no regard for the the singular desires that lead us to our work in the first place.

And so (as mentioned above), we are also thrilled to announce the publication today of The Digital Humanist: A Critical Inquiry, written by Domenico Fiormonte, Teresa Numerico, and Francesca Tomasi, and translated from the Italian by Desmond Schmidt and Christopher Ferguson — The Digital Humanistoffers an indispensable critical introduction to the core technologies underlying the Internet from a humanistic perspective. It also provides an invaluable cultural critique of computing technologies, by exploring the history of computing and examining issues related to writing, representing, archiving and searching. The book raises awareness of, and calls for, the digital humanities to address the challenges posed by the linguistic and cultural divides in computing, the clash between communication and control, and the biases inherent in networked technologies. A common problem with publications in the Digital Humanities is the dominance of the Anglo-American perspective. While seeking to take a broader view, this book attempts to show how cultural bias can become an obstacle to innovation both in the methodology and practice of the Digital Humanities. Its central point is that no technological instrument is culturally unbiased, and that all too often the geography that underlies technology coincides with the social and economic interests of its producers. The alternative proposed in the book is one of a world in which variation, contamination and decentralization are essential instruments for the production and transmission of digital knowledge.

Vive la Open Access.

In Loving Solidarity, Andrew Doty, David Hadbawnik, Eileen A. Joy, Chris Piuma, and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

Reading Group Notes: Derrida and Coleman on Improvisation and Play

Ornette Coleman & Jacques Derrida intervenidos x Villavicencio - Descontexto

I didn’t always know where I was, so I went to a library and I checked out all the books possible and imaginable on the human brain, I read them all.  They said that the brain was only a conversation.  They didn’t say what about, but this made me understand that the fact of thinking and knowing doesn’t only depend on the place of origin.  (Ornette Coleman, “The Others’ Language”)

On October 26, George Blake led us in a discussion of an interview between Jacques Derrida and free jazz artist Ornette Coleman, and their joint performance onstage in July 1997.  In “The Others’ Language,” Derrida interviewed Coleman about improvisation (including the place of repetition and groups in improv); and “Play–The First Name” comprises the text of Derrida’s “solo” performance following Coleman’s concert with pianist Joachim Kuhn.  Julie Carlson aptly summarized the dynamic between Derrida and Coleman as one not characterized by confrontation of experts viewing a topic through different lenses, but rather characterized by a “tonal” respect of the other that eschews direct agreement or disagreement; thus, the deflections of questions that some of us noticed were not outright rejections of each other’s ideas and work, but rather indicate an improvisatory mode of conversation that reaches across disciplinary divides.

After working through definitions of bebop, harmolodic music, and free jazz, listening to excerpts of the “free jazz” composed and performed by Coleman, and discussing receptions of Derrida’s speech vs. that of his written work (as the audience jeered his recitation of “Play”), we noted some questions and themes that recurred from our previous explorations of improvisation:

  • The importance of balancing play and the “new” with codes and repetition (particularly germane, in this conversation, to deconstruction and its work with language systems);
  • The difficulty of knowing when you have mastered a framework enough to improvise after it;
  • The idea of “mastery” that is equally prevalent in musical performance and in academia, compared to the immersive, embodied, unconscious relationship we may have with a craft or field after working with it for years;
  • The role that the body, the environment, and objects can play in improvisation (as when the sound of audible breathing in a clarinet links the performer’s body and the instrument);
  • The importance of improvisation in groups for social survival and thriving, and the risks of improvising with others (as when Derrida indicates his shame at invoking the words of Coleman’s mother when he does not know her name);
  • The use, place, and risks of deferment, and (similarly) of absence–if we cannot do everything, how can we stop apologizing for what we don’t do?

 

Events on Campus: Conference on Metamorphosis: Human, Animal, Armor

Bronze-Beetle-Yale-2

Please join us for “Metamorphosis: Human, Animal, Armor,” an interdisciplinary conference on the 100th anniversary of the publication of Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.”  Literature and the Mind director Julie Carlson is acting as convener, along with Elisabeth Weber (Germanic and Slavic Studies) and Wolf Kittler (Germanic and Slavic Studies); and L&M-affiliated faculty members Russell Samolsky and Kay Young will be participating in the conference’s opening panel.  The conference will be held December 3-5; please see the conference’s official website for the official schedule, locations on campus, and details about participants, here.

From the conference’s official description: “On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Franz Kafka’s famous text “The Metamorphosis,” an interdisciplinary conference at UCSB brings together a wide array of scholars and artists to discuss Kafka’s text in its literary-historical context, and to read it as an exploration of metamorphoses that problematize borders between species and between living organisms and machines. Kafka’s text opens pressing questions in such fields as human and animal rights, old and new forms of warfare, art and technology: mimicry of animals in developments in drone warfare, bionics (exoskeletons), prostheses, and nano-technology, as well as digitally engineered perception through animal eyes.”

Image: Bronze Beetle, Greek, 750BCE, Yale University Art Gallery

Events on Campus: Notes from Opening Reception

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On October 12, Literature and the Mind gathered with affiliated programs on campus for an introduction to the new year and to share information about our mind-related projects.  We had a fantastic turnout, with undergraduates, grad students, faculty, and post-doctoral researchers from a variety of departments and initiatives (including English, Comparative Literature, and Psychology).  Below, you’ll find pictures of our attendees, as well as more information about the programs that we heard about across campus.

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Julie (pictured above left) led us through the L&M Initiative’s plans for the upcoming year, as we undertake two endeavors: continuing to study our biennial theme of “Improvisation,” searching for a new English Department faculty member who specializes in cognitive science, and engaging with the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center’s study of “The Humanities and the Brain.”  We will have more word on both of these events throughout the year, so stay tuned!

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We heard from Dr. Bridget Queenan, Associate Director of the Brain Initiative at UCSB (pictured above right).  This initiative, under the direction of Dr. Ken Kosick, will “assemble & support research teams to attack the most fundamental problems in neuroscience. Providing intellectual, technical, and financial resources, [they] are changing how academic research is done.”  Dr. Queenan was especially excited to discuss this project and the brain with scholars in literature and the humanities at large, and to bring these disciplines that have studied the mind and brain into deeper conversation.  Learn more about the work and scholars behind this project here.

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Claire Zedelius (pictured above left) spoke with us about the UCSB Daydream Project, an initiative housed in Dr. Jonathan Schooler’s Memory Emotion Thought Awareness, or META, Lab (website here).  The project’s description notes, “We spend about half our waking lives daydreaming. This research project is investigating how different styles of daydreaming influence creativity.”  Learn more about the Daydreaming project, and how you can participate in the data-gathering stage of their project, on the group’s Facebook page here.

Thanks to all of our attendees for helping us to kick off a dynamic year!