Story and the Brain Undergraduate Discussion Group

Next Meeting: October 30, 2019, at 6-7:45pm, South Hall 2623 (Sankey Room)

October 30 – This meeting will be led by Thomas Nedungadan and we will read Iris Murdoch’s short essay (only six pages) “Against Dryness” to continue our conversation about the potential of literature and its relationship to empathy and action in the world. Food and refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome!

December 4 – This meeting will be led by Melody Sobhani and aims to situate our discussion of empathy in a global context by reading short stories by William Faulkner and Haruki Murakami and engaging with the work of the auteur Chang-dong Lee. Readings and more information will be sent out closer to the date.

About Story and the Brain

The advent of neuroscience and artificial intelligence is reshaping our world today, creating a dramatic shift in how we think about what it means to be human. At this critical juncture, it is vital that humanists participate in the development of a shared intellectual enterprise to ensure that scientific developments take place in the context of human values. But much of the ‘cognitive revolution’ still has to make its full impact on the typical student. The Story and the Brain Undergraduate Discussion Group sets out to provide a space for humanists with little or no knowledge of modern neuroscience to acquire an informed account of the model of the mind emerging from accelerating technological and scientific advances. That literature has something significant to offer to the neurobiological and computer sciences on the most subtle aspects of social perception, memory, emotion and cognition will be the focus of the meetings. The group will meet monthly and decide on readings together. All are very welcome and no prior knowledge is needed. Undergraduates are especially welcome.

Organizers: Sowon Park and Aili Pettersson Peeker

Contact: unconsciousmemory@english.ucsb.edu or apetterssonpeeker@ucsb.edu

Readings for Oct. 2nd meeting: Blakey Vermeule’s article “The New Unconscious: A Literary Guided Tour” from The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies (2015) and Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” (1983).”

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