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Approaches to Teaching Literature in the Age of Cognitive Science

Presentation by Lisa Zunshine (University of Kentucky, USA) "Approaches to Teaching Literature in the Age of Cognitive Science" in the framework of the Seminar on "Practices of Liberal Education" (58-60 Galernaya Street).

Cognitive approaches to literature is a rapidly developing interdisciplinary field, or a system of interconnected fields, aiming to understand how human cognitive architecture, which developed in the process of evolution and underwrites such expression of creativity as literature and arts, interacts with historically-specific cultural contexts. My main borrowing from cognitive science is "theory of mind," aka "mindreading," that is, our evolved cognitive ability to perceive people's observable behavior as caused by unobservable mental states, such as thoughts, feelings, and intentions. I start by discussing patterns of mindreading in literature (drawing on case studies from Russian, English, and Chinese works of fiction), and then explain how I use cognitive approaches to literature in the classroom.

Lisa Zunshine is Bush-Holbrook professor of English at the University of Kentucky and a former Guggenheim fellow. She is author and editor of eleven books, including Bastards and Foundlings: Illegitimacy in Eighteenth-Century England (2005), Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel (2006), Strange Concepts and the Stories They Make Possible (2008), Getting Inside Your Head: What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Popular Culture (2012) and The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies (2015). 

20 september
2018
18:00

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