Neuro Humanities Studies

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Grazia Pulvirenti, Renata Gambino, The paradox of Romantic ekphrasis. Metacritic discourse, perception and imagination in art descripti

Ekphrasis is a text genre based on the intertwining of visual and verbal features, involving the processes of both reading, and priming a visual image or a related action. We argue in this study that...

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NeuroHumanities Lecture at University of Parma

The NeuroHumanities Studies Directors, Grazia Pulvirenti and Renata Gambino, will held a Lecture to present their new book about Neurohermeneutics at the University of Parma (Italy) on Thuesday 16th October 2018 at 11 a.m.

Students, phd students and researchers are cordially invited. The lecture is also open to everyone interested.


Inhabiting immersive territories: neuroscientific and ecological perspectives on literature, videogames and the arts in the Anthropocene


While our natural habitat is being degraded by our inability to develop sustainable lifestyles on a planetary scale, arts create immersive environments, opening up new modes of inhabitation. Videogames, literature, cinema, theater, and visual arts design territories, inviting us to explore and to wander, to roam and to contemplate; unproductive activities that disrupt the cycles of neoliberalism and counter the cognitive styles it promotes.

These embodied activities are made possible by the reader/player/spectator’s capacity to immerse herself in texts, by her ability to enter altered states of consciousness. These states of consciousness allow us to dwell in secondary worlds, in which we can spend a significant part of our time and physiological resources, a significant part of our life. What can neuroscience, ecology and the humanities teach us about these states of consciousness, these modes of attention that modulate our encounter with artistic creations and their designed universes? And how do artists build these universes? How do they become a habitat for the “symbolic species” (to use Terrence Deacon’s words)? Can our daily frequentation of these territories change the way we relate to our geophysical, planetary environment?


It is around an intervention by neuroscientist Semir Zeki (University College of London) that we will engage with these questions. This conference is part of the Annual Neurohumanities Meetings held at Sorbonne Nouvelle since 2013, and is organized by the [Science/Literature] research group, EA 4398 PRISMES:


For more information please follow the link below:



250 words abstracts accompanied by a biographical note are to be sent before April 20, 2018, to

Notification of acceptance date: February 28, 2018


Scientific Committee

Alexa Weik von Mossner (Klagenfurt University)

Carl Therrien (University of Montreal)

Alexis Blanchet (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Aude Leblond (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Jonathan Hope (University of Quebec in Montreal)





























What is the meeting point between Science and Humanities?
How can common conceptual and lexical frameworks improve transdisciplinary research?


We are very pleased to announce that our fifth Neurohumanities Dialogue What is What? Focus on transdisciplinary concepts and terminology in Neuroaesthetics, Cognition and Poetics will take place in Catania, on 31st May and 1st June.
The aim of this year Dialogue is to focus on the terminological difficulties encountered during transdisciplinary research studies. Thanks to and due to the continuous discussion of the last years on the terms to be used in the scientific research, the project of a common ground for literary texts and arts analysis is feasible. What better occasion than a transdisciplinary and international Dialogue?
Different personalities will propose current studies and original points of view with the purpose of setting a possible common frame of terms and categories for future research.
Some of the brightest research leaders will give their contribution: Mark Turner, Alan Richardson, Semir Zeki, Arthur M. Jacobs and Helmut Leder.
Furthermore, other relevant specialists like Amy Cook, Pascal Nicklas, Pierre-Louis Patoine, Alexander Bergs, Silvia Bonacchi, Jana Lüdtke and Teresa Sylvester will partecipate and feed the debate.


For more information:





CFP: IGEL 2018 – Juli 25-28 2018, Stavanger

EXTENDED DEADLINE: January 20, 2018.

The International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL) invites submissions to the 2018 biennial conference across all areas of the empirical study of literature and media, including but not limited to, cognitive processing of literature, literature/media and culture, neuroscience and literature, literary reception, reading and emotion, historical study of literature, and corpus analysis of literature.

Submissions may be accepted either as spoken presentations (individual papers or parts of pre-organized symposia) or as poster presentations. The format of spoken presentations (whether paper or symposia) is 20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion.

The review committee requires a summary of the presentation. The summary should be 600-800 words and contain a short introduction, a description of the methods as appropriate, and a brief conclusion. The committee will not accept papers or posters based on data that have yet to be collected. Acceptance decisions will be communicated to the authors by March 15, 2018.

Submission Online submission system
(click on the “Abstracts” tab)

Submitters must provide the following information for each submission (see online registration for details):

  • Author information
  • Co-authors (if any)
  • Three to five relevant keywords
  • A 100-word abstract
  • You indicate the format (poster, paper, symposium paper) by ticking the appropriate box


Submitters download/attach the above-mentioned summary, which should include a title and be no longer than 600-800 words (not including bibliography). Please do NOT include author information in the summary.


It should contain a short theoretical introduction/framework, methodological overview (including quantitative or qualitative approach), key findings, and a brief discussion. The summary should be saved using a generic name (e.g. summary.pdf). Proposals that exceed the specified length will not be reviewed.

Inquiries about the submission process or the conference should be sent to (please put “IGEL” in the subject line).


Outstanding Student Paper Award

IGEL will give an Outstanding Student Paper Award. In order to be considered for this award, the first author must be a graduate student, and the student’s supervisor must send a recommendation to describing the student’s contribution to the research project. First authors should indicate the eligibility of their submission using the provided checkbox during the submission process.

Please check regularly and join us on Facebook for updates.


EXTENDED DEADLINE: January 20, 2018.


Additional Information

The official website of IGEL:
The IGEL 2018 conference website:

We look forward to seeing you in Stavanger for the 2018 IGEL conference!

14 PhD Positions at the University of Verona (Italy) – INVITE Programme

The University of Verona is going to open a call for applications for 14 PhD positions within the EU-funded project INVITE.

We kindly ask you to promote this initiative on you website or by your own communication channels (social networks, newsletter).

The INVITE call for applications officially opens on 15 January 2018 and closes on 16 April 2018 at 2 p.m.

INVITE is a doctoral programme of the University of Verona with a strong inter-sectoralinter-disciplinary and international dimension. It is co-financed by the European Union within the Horizon 2020 Programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754345 and by the Regione del Veneto.
The 14 available positions allow to perform competitive high quality scientific research in the following area: from Arts and Humanities to Legal and Economic Sciences, from Health and Life Sciences to Natural and Engineering Sciences.

In particular we would like to draw your attentions to the following research area: The experience of the Other: the stranger, the foreigner, the different, the outsider, the unknown within the Phd programme in Foreign Literatures, Languages and Linguistics.

More information on the INVITE website:

The INVITE doctoral programme aims to encourage each student’s intellectual curiosity and support the acquisition of critical thinking skills by training them in the use of innovative theoretical tools and practical methods.

INVITE is open to early-stage researchers of any age and nationality and from any country. Few restrictions apply to candidates:

  • They must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline;
  • They must hold a Master’s Degree (Master of Science or Master of Arts) or similar degree equivalent to the Italian Laurea Magistrale / Specialisticathat, in their country of origin, grants access to PhD programmes;
  • They must not already hold a PhD and must have less than 4 years (full-time equivalent) of research experience.

On the Press room page ( you will find some pictures and a short presentation you can use to promote the call for applications.

For further information about the call you can visit the INVITE website ( or you can contact us by email (, or download this file INVITE PhD Position information file.


Amy Cook Lecture @ NewHums Research Centre

Il 24 novembre avremo il piacere di ospitare una lezione di Amy Cook, professoressa di inglese, discipline teatrali e specializzata in Shakespeare e early modern drama, direttore del dipartimento di “Theatre Arts” presso la Stony Brook University di New York. Si parlerà di emozioni, empatia, teatro e Shakespeare. Ci vediamo venerdì 24 novembre, ore 11, aula 252 del Monastero dei Benedettini. Non mancate!!!


Amy Cook is professor in English and Theatre Arts and Graduate Director in the Department of Theatre Arts. She specializes in the intersection of cognitive science and theories of performance and early modern drama.
On Novembre 24 she will be at the Benedectine Monastery of Catania to held a lesson on “Rethinking Emotions and Empathy in the Theatre”.
11.00, November 24th, Room 252.
Don’t miss it!!

The Interview Prof. Dr. Anne MANGEN and Prof. Dr. Arthur JACOBS

The Interview with E-READ action members Prof. Dr. Anne MANGEN and Prof. Dr. Arthur JACOBS. Interviewer – Dr. Daiva Janavičiene, member of E-READ COST action, Chief Methodologist at Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.

COST E-READ Networking Conference

Stavanger, 3th – 5th October 2018

How does digitisation change the ways we read? What do we currently know about the differences between reading on paper and reading on screens? The current wholesale adoption of digital screens – in educational as well as leisure settings – is profoundly affecting our reading habits. Since November 2014, researchers from a wide variety of disciplines all over Europe have come together, in the framework of the COST Action E-READ (, to pursue such questions and to begin mapping the effects of digitisation on reading. On October 3-5, they meet at The University of Stavanger for a showcase conference to present some of the findings and to discuss implications of digitisation for stakeholders such as the educational field, policy makers, and publishers. Invited speaker at the conference is Maryanne Wolf, internationally renowned researcher and author of Proust and the Squid: the story and science of the reading brain.

Follow the news at 

CFP: Worlding the Brain II



Affect, Care, Engagement

Interdisciplinary conference at the University of Amsterdam

November 2-4, 2017

Submission deadline July 1, 2017

Keynote speakers: 
Prof. Vittorio Gallese (University of Parma)
Prof. Felicity Callard (Durham University)
Prof. Alva Noë (University of California, Berkeley)

Following the success of Worlding the Brain 2016, we continue this series of multi-disciplinary encounters of science, art and the humanities with an international conference on the themes of Affect, Care and Engagement in November 2017 in Amsterdam.

This event is intended to explore the ‘worlding’ of the brain, i.e. the mutual influence of the extra-cerebral world on the brain and the brain on the world.  Such ‘worldings’ occur when we place the brain in worldly contexts, study its interaction with various environments and reflect upon its entanglements with cultural practices and processes. Based on a recognition of the ‘neuro-turn’ in various disciplines, we aim to extend and deepen the dialogue between the different fields of knowledge in art, humanities and science that investigate and perform such interactions.

The themes of affect, care and engagement indicate that the bidirectional interaction between world and brain is never neutral but always mediated by concerns, interests and emotions in different ways. With ‘affect’ we think of both the current political and cultural climate (of anger, fear, resentment and hope) and the prevalence of medical and psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders in society today. With ‘care’ we want to address the caring for the self and others in our daily lives and health care, taking into account the underlying socio-political imperatives of self-fashioning and well-being. With ‘engagement’ we aim to explore both the interconnections between brain, body and our sensory environment and the socio-political implications of these relations for personal and collective agency today.

The socio-political, psychological, medical, cultural and discursive dimensions of these topics require an integration of artistic, humanist and cognitive neuroscientific perspectives. With these explorations, this conference intends to foster reflection on the challenges and opportunities for the ‘worlding the brain’ perspective in the current political, social, epistemic situation.

Besides our keynote addresses we will host multi-disciplinary panels and invite artists, (cognitive) neuroscientists, health workers and humanities scholars of all kinds to engage in paper presentations, dialogues, performances and artistic work. Our aim is to meet and learn from our different perspectives on the complexity of our embodied, enworlded and affective brains, and start new collaborations. We will convene in the CREA building of the University of Amsterdam and, on the second evening of the conference, for a special evening program at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Presentations can address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • Emotions (fear, joy, sadness) in neuroscience, film, literature, art and psychiatry
  • Affective imaginations and simulations
  • Intersubjectivity and synchronicity
  • Empathy and attunement
  • Neuroaesthetics and/of empathy
  • Philosophy and neuroscience of emotions
  • Art and care of the self/the other, affective labor
  • Mirror neurons, theory of mind and intersubjective care
  • The (a)political state of mind
  • Environmental and cognitive interactions
  • Impacts of cognitive and neuro-enhancement technologies

We invite proposals for 15 minute presentations, allowing after each presentation a 15 minute discussion. We encourage interdisciplinary co-presentations or pre-constituted interdisciplinary panels. Next to more traditional papers, we encourage other formats for presenting and performing, such as workshops, posters, or open stage meetings; please describe the type of intervention you propose. When submitting a proposal, please include a title; an abstract of ca. 250 words; a short bio (150 words) and a short bibliography that includes three publications that are relevant for your topic. Please send your proposal to

For the latest news on Worlding the Brain 2017 see:

Deadline for proposals: 1 July 2017

Notifications by: 15 July 2017

Conference fee: 150 Euros (fee waivers available to students and artists), 

to be paid before 1 August 2017

Information on the keynote speakers:

Vittorio Gallese is Professor of Physiology at the University of Parma with appointments in the departments of neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology. His research investigates the brain mechanisms underlying social cognition, in particular empathy and its role in aesthetic experience. Gallese is one of the discoverers of mirror neurons and remains a main contributor to research on this key finding in cognitive neuroscience and to the interpretation of its implications in a variety of domains and disciplines, for example in his recent book, The Birth of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neurobiology, and the Self (with Massimo Ammaniti, W.W. Norton, 2014). Professor Gallese also holds an appointment as professor in Experimental Aesthetics at the University of London, where he is researching the neural basis of aesthetic experience.

Felicity Callard is Professor in Social Science for Medical Humanities at Durham University, UK. Her research sits at the intersection of the social sciences and the humanities and specifically addresses twentieth- and twenty-first century psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience. She has a strong interest in practices, epistemologies and histories of interdisciplinarity, as manifested in her co-authored, Open Access book, Rethinking Interdisciplinarity across the Social Sciences and Neurosciences (Palgrave, 2015). From October 2014 to December 2016, Callard was Director of Hubbub – the first interdisciplinary residency of the Hub at Wellcome Collection – where she led a team of scientists, artists, humanists, clinicians, public health experts and public engagement professionals, who explored states of rest and its opposites in mental health, cognitive neuroscience, the arts and the everyday.

Alva Noë is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Center for New Media. He works on the nature of mind and human experience, insisting on the embodied nature of cognition and the enactive nature of interactions between body, mind and world. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT Press, 2004), Out of Our Heads (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009), Varieties of Presence (Harvard University Press, 2012), and Strange Tools (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015). He has been philosopher-in-residence with The Forsythe Company and has also collaborated with a number of dance artists. Alva Noë is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a former fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a weekly contributor to National Public Radio’s science blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.

This conference is organized by the ASCA research group Neuroaesthetics and Neurocultures at the University of Amsterdam. This conference is made possible by grants from and collaboration with: Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA), the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies (ACGS), Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC), the Netherlands School for Cultural Analysis (NICA) and the Cutting Edge Research fund by the University of Amsterdam
Conference theme design: Anton Weflo and Johanna Ehde

NHS Book Recommendation

Non sappiamo perché e come l’Homo sapiens abbia sviluppato la capacità di costruire storie. Possiamo però ipotizzare come possono essere andate le cose. Cioè come un ominide possa avere sviluppato la facoltà di narrare storie e come queste possano averlo avvantaggiato tra tutte le specie, fino a farne l’indiscusso signore del pianeta. Si tratta dunque di studiare la narrazione, la fiction e la letteratura nel contesto della teoria dell’evoluzione e delle scienze cognitive, prendendo le mosse da recenti acquisizioni dell’archeologia cognitiva che mettono in relazione la produzione di utensili e lo sviluppo di capacità narrative. Si comprende così che la narrazione ha un ruolo decisivo nella costituzione del Sé e delle sue protesi esterne, come da tempo sostengono i teorici della mente estesa e della cognizione incarnata

Michele Cometa insegna Storia comparata delle culture e Cultura visuale nell’Università degli Studi di Palermo. Nelle nostre edizioni ha pubblicato La scrittura delle immagini (2012).


The Neuro Humanities Studies Network aims at creating a multidisciplinary research community in order to develop and structure a linking platform for neuro-scientific, cognitive topics and humanities.

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