UCSB’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Center has announced its theme for the 2015-2016 academic year: The Humanities and the Brain. This series of events open to the public “will bring humanists and neuroscientists into dialogue to consider diverse analyses and representations of this most elusive organ.” Please contact IHC Diretor Susan Derwin and Associate Director Emily Zinn with suggestions for speakers, performances, artist talks, panels, and film screenings on the humanities and the brain, including the following subtopics:
Consciousness and the unconscious
Criminal justice and brain imaging
Historical understandings of the brain
Life stages and the brain
Literary representations of mental states
Mapping the brain
Memory and forgetting
Mental health and education
Music and the brain
Narrative and the brain
Performance and the brain
Poverty and brain development
Religious experience and the brain
Representations of the brain in popular culture
Visual arts and the brain
Our initiative looks forward to attending and participating in this exciting program.
Image credit: Roxy Paine, “Neuron,” sculpture from Dendroids series (2010)
Wednesday, April 1, 5-8 PM
Sankey Room (South Hall 2623)
Join us for an evening with Ann Randolph, an award-winning playwright and sketch actor (Groundlings, The Midnight Show). Ann will reflect on improvisation, healing, and everyday life (5-7 PM), and will lead us in some exercises to put this idea into practice (7-8 PM). This is an exciting opportunity to think about improvisation in terms of theater, writing, and pedagogy alongside an acclaimed playwright, spoken word artist, and sketch comedian.
Ann’s past workshops have covered comedy and storytelling in pain, approaches to writing, and modes of creativity. Her solo show “Loveland” has won awards for “Best Solo Show” and “Best Original Script;” she has won the storytelling contest LA Moth; and, through her work with the Groundlings and other shows, she has performed in sketches alongside Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, and Thomas Lennon. To learn more about Ann’s work as a writer, performer, and instructor in improvisation, please visit her website at annrandolph.com.
Ann’s visit is co-sponsored by the graduate students of Literature and the Mind, and the College of Creative Studies at UCSB.
Psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, MD (University of Toronto) will visit UCSB to discuss his new work on neuroplasticity in The Brain’s Way of Healing. In his new publication, Doidge “describes how natural, non-invasive treatments–based on light, sound, vibration, and movement–can awaken the brain’s remarkable healing capacities.” This free event takes place at 8 PM on Monday, February 2 in Campbell Hall, just after psychoanalyst Philip Ringstrom’s visit. We hope you can join us for both exciting events.
Image: Greg A. Dunn, “Cortical Columns” (detail)
Thursday, January 15, 5:30 PM
McCune Conference Room, HSSB 6020
Ruth Leys (History, Johns Hopkins University) will visit UCSB for “an assessment of the latest twists in affect theory.” This exciting talk, co-sponsored by the UCSB’s Graduate Center for Literary Research and Literature and the Mind, will address the following questions:
“If the twentieth century was the Freudian century, the century of libido, will the twenty first century-as has been suggested- be the century of the “post-traumatic” subject, whose affective indifference and profound emotional disengagement from the world mark him or her as a victim of brain damage? Will political, economic, and natural violence now take the form of a meaningless shock to the “emotional brain,” depriving victims of all meaning and affect? What are the stakes of such claims?”
Image: from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
Please come to the Opening Reception of Literature and the Mind this Wednesday, October 22, starting at 5:30 pm in the Sankey Room in the English Department (second floor of South Hall). Besides socializing, we plan to describe our new focus on improvisation, some of the events that we have lined up, unveil our new website, and invite your input and ideas for collaboration. There will be reception-style food and drink!
Image: Renoir, “The Luncheon of the Boating Party”
From October 16-18, UC Santa Barbara’s campus hosts the third biennial meeting of the BABEL Working Group. This year, artists, scholars, and other thinkers meet to address the theme “On the Beach: Precariousness, Risk, Forms of Life, Affinity, and Play at the Edge of the World.” This unconventional meeting invites participants to “comb the beach — not to straighten out, nor even to mine, but to entangle while also pondering.” The conference is co-sponsored by many departments and initiatives across and beyond UCSB’s campus, including Literature and the Mind.
View the complete program here.
Follow the latest goings-on at the Babel Working Group on their blog here.
Image above via Joni Sternbach, SurfLand
Beach ball featured in “Chaucer on the Beach” panel