Minding the Body: Dualism and Its Discontents (Due: 1/7/13)

Presenting the ESA Conference

Minding the Body: Dualism and Its Discontents

“The BRAIN—is wider than the sky—”

-Emily Dickinson

The turn towards the influence of affect and emotions on “rational decision making”—the false separation between mind and body that neuroscientist Antonio Damasio calls “Descartes’ Error”—has had wide appeal in recent years in the humanities and other fields. This conference intends to explore the theoretical frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship that addresses the mind-body problem. How can we continue to think about mind-body relations, connections, or disruptions in new ways across disciplinary boundaries? How can recent work in the humanities on affect and emotions speak to other fields? What are the limitations of theories of affect?

What might neuroscience offer to other disciplines for thinking about mind, consciousness, and embodiment? How can we consider the recent explosion of interest and attention—enthusiastic to bleak—on the possible effects that the Internet, technology, and increasingly digital lives are having on the connections or fractures between mind, body, and identity? How might we theorize mind and body in other ways—inter-personally, inter-subjectively, trans-personally, ethically—in material, social, and digital ways?

We invite interdisciplinary approaches to rethinking Cartesian dualism, including forms of dialogue between, but not limited to, neuroscience, affect theory, narratology, psychoanalysis, medicine, technology studies, cybernetics, and cognitive science. We encourage interrogation of disciplinary boundaries. Papers might be literary and humanities focused, or might also consider other perspectives on mind and body from the sciences, visual arts, philosophy, social sciences, and digital studies. We solicit, and would like to include, the widest possible range of approaches to ways of thinking about “minding the body” in all literary fields: pre-digital, pre-neuroscientic, pre-psychoanalytic, phenomenological, aesthetic, cognitive, historical, experimental, and in or about other media.

Website: http://mindingthebodyconference.wordpress.com/

Email: mindingthebodyconference@gmail.com
Please submit 250-500 word abstracts by January 7, 2013.