Panel sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, proposed by Charlotte Lee (Cambridge) and John H. Smith (UC Irvine)
Cognitive Science in/and the Goethezeit
Modern Languages Association Annual Convention
Austin, TX, 7-10 January 2016
A lot of work in the humanities recently has been drawn to the cognitive sciences, from the role of mirror neurons in empathetic and aesthetic experiences (Galese) to post-phenomenological interdisciplinary studies of the senses. And a lot of work on the Goethezeit has been drawn to varieties of scientific practices and to conceptions that once seemed antiquated but may actually have been all too prescient (the interrelations between the inorganic and organic, between mind and body, and between subject and object). This session would like to bring these two interests together. Building on a proposed conference on “Embodied Cognition and the Goethezeit” in Cambridge (September 2015), the session invites papers that would address such issues as the way literary and/or philosophical texts in the Age of Goethe explore cognitive processes or the way contemporary cognitive science might illuminate literary/philosophical texts; how the period looked at the intersection of mind and body; the extent to which the Goethezeit offers approaches to cognition that were not taken up by modern science but may be relevant again.