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From the Brain to Human Culture: Intersections between the Humanities and Neuroscience
An Interdisciplinary Conference Sponsored by the Comparative Humanities Program at Bucknell University

Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, April 20-21, 2007


Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

Prof. Andy Clark,
Dept. of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Prof. Michael Gazzaniga
Dept. of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara

Papers and/or panels are solicited for an interdisciplinary conference
examining the intersections between recent work in the humanities and
neurosciences. In the past decade, the various branches of neuroscience
(as well as linguistics, sociobiology and other fields) have begun to take
up the ethical, artistic and behavioral questions that were previously
thought to be the province of scholars in the humanities and to challenge
the centrality of learned human behavior in these and other areas.
Scholars such as Simon Baron-Cohen, Marc Hauser, and Steven Pinker (among
many others) have begun to provide scientific accounts of ethical
phenomena and neuroscientific research has coined new subdisciplinary
fields such as "neuroethics," and "neuroaesthetics." Scholars in the
humanities, in their turn, have begun to produce critical-philosophical
accounts of the claims of these scholars and new work on subjects such
extended consciousness, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the effects
of digital culture on human subjectivity and cultural production. The
purpose of this conference will be to explore the status of this important
debate at the present time.

We especially encourage papers that cross conventional disciplinary lines
and/or that directly address the scholarly, institutional, and practical
consequences of the ways in which the humanities and sciences are
interacting at present. Papers from across the whole range of both the
humanities (art, religion, literature, philosophy, film studies, history,
languages, etc.) and neuroscience and its related fields (psychology,
cognitive science, physiology, animal behavior, organismal and
evolutionary biology, etc.) are welcome.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the panels and audience, we ask that
potential presenters be aware that they will not just be addressing
specialists in their field. Selected papers from the conference will be
considered for publication in an edited book in the Aperçus:  Histories
Texts Cultures series from Bucknell University Press.

Among the possible themes for papers and panels are:

- can new disciplines like "neuroethics" work alongside traditional
humanistic modes of enquiry or is conflict between the two inevitable?

- what have the humanities done to respond to these new developments in
the sciences?

- what new configurations of the relationship between the sciences and
the humanities could be made possible by this new work?

- how are questions of culture (human activity in the world) being related
to the activities of the mind and brain in new and productive ways? And
vice versa?

- how does neuroscientific study affect the way we understand the
reception of books, films, and digital media?

- how are "rationality" and "emotion" seen as part of human decision 
making process by humanists and neuroscientists?

- how has recent research in evolutionary biology and psychology affected
our perceptions of cultural productions?

Please send a 500-word abstract and CV as an email attachment to:

Prof. John Hunter
Comparative Humanities Program
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA 17837, USA
jchunter@bucknell.edu

Submissions via regular mail will be accepted if necessary. Comments and
inquiries to the above address are welcome.

DEADLINE:    December 15th, 2006.
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