Unorthodox Minds: Innovative Exchanges Between Cognitive Studies, Narrative Theory and Contemporary Fiction
An edited collection of essays
Deadline for proposals: 1 October 2021
Edited by Grzegorz Maziarczyk and Joanna Klara Teske
In recent years research on the subject of consciousness, cognition, and the human mind has been constantly gaining momentum. New theories take emotions to be information processing programs which control the work of subprograms responsible for perception, attention or conceptual frameworks (Tooby and Cosmides), construe mental states − our subjective experience − as having no causal power (Dennett), claim that we read the minds of the others by simulating their experience (Goldman), submit that instead of being rational in our actions we simply post hoc rationalize them with the help of the interpreter module, confabulating when needs be (Gazzaniga). These and similar cutting-edge conceptualisations of consciousness and cognition have already attracted attention of both novelists (Peter Watts, Ian McEwan, David Lodge, Tom McCarthy, Julian Barnes) and narrative (postclassical) theorists (Monika Fludernik, Alan Palmer, David Herman, Lisa Zunshine).
In 2016 and 2017 we edited two collections of essays on works of fiction investigating the human mind: Novelistic Inquiries into the Mind (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) and Explorations of Consciousness in Contemporary Fiction (Brill). Though the two volumes have helped to fill an important gap in the literature, they have not exhausted the subject. Contemporary fiction as well as contemporary narrative studies seem to engage more than ever in interaction with cognitive studies and philosophy of mind offering provocative ideas and/or original means of their expression.
We invite proposal submissions for a forthcoming edited collection concerning recent developments in cognitive science and philosophy of mind and their reverberations in narrative theory and contemporary English-language fiction. We are especially interested in innovative theories of mind and equally innovative works of literature, which offer unorthodox representations of the human mind.
We welcome research papers focused on any of the following issues:
- postclassical analyses of techniques for showing mental states/cognition in narrative fiction,
- literary responses to narrative theories of the mind,
- literary reception (in narrative studies and fiction) of phenomenological interpretations of the mindful body/ the embodied mind (rejecting the post-Cartesian dualism),
- the use of experimental narrative strategies to problematize mental experience (cf. works such as The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway, Woman’s World by Graham Rawle, The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski or The Breathing Wall by Kate Pullinger, Stefan Schemat and babel),
- unnatural minds of narrative texts: examination of human minds carried out within the framework of unnatural narratology,
- new interpretations of the role of emotions and affect in contemporary fiction and/or narrative theory,
- analyses of literary representations of the impact of the Internet and, more generally, contemporary digital culture on the human mind,
- cultural minds: “fictional” representations of cultural differences between minds,
- the idea of the constructedness of the self: the role of the imagination in human subjective experience as explored in postmodern (meta)fiction,
- notions of extended mind and intermental thinking: their use in narrative theory and/or fiction,
- interactivism as a radically new interpretation of cognition: its reflection in narrative theory and fiction,
- “fictional” discussions on artificial intelligence and what they can reveal about the nature of the mind,
- literary discussions on the subject of ethical consequences of recent developments in the theory of mind (ideas such as physical determinism, constructivism, epiphenomenalism),
- novelistic attempts to anticipate the future evolution of the human mind (posthumanity).
Proposals (250-word abstracts) should be submitted to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by October 01, 2021. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by October 30, 2021. Final papers will be expected by March 01, 2022. We hope to be able to publish the collection by the end of 2022.
We would like to ask the authors to follow the MLA stylesheet (8th edition) and use British English spelling. Please attach a brief biographical note to your abstract.
Grzegorz Maziarczyk, Associate Professor of Literary Theory
Joanna Klara Teske, Associate Professor of Literary Studies
Institute of Literary Studies
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
(posted 4 May 2021)
The ‘periphery’ has long been the scene for the most pressing wagers of urban, economic and social development: in its various, often unfortunately negative aspects, the periphery constitutes a node of transition and inevitable connection between the ‘centre’ and the ‘outside’ of the city, maintaining opposing characteristics towards both, and acting as an identity-creating workshop for ‘middle-earth society’, where degradation is mixed with opportunities and is redeemed by creative energy.
The periphery is an extremely mobile place, in both time and space: it changes according to epochs and the cities where it is located, seeing that today there are ‘internal’ peripheries, characterised by situations of social marginalisation, cultural and emotional deprivation, and a lack of opportunities.
It is a mutable ‘object’ and for this reason continually eludes evaluations: if, on the one hand, it is defined by subtraction in relation to the terms of reference with which it is compared, on the other hand, it is now finding its place in the imagination as an accumulation of the multiple meanings acquired over time. The metaphorical (and re-semanticised – in an anthropological, linguistic and cultural sense) use of the term therefore makes use of different connotations, seen as values or as disvalues, depending on the diaphasic contexts and, above all, on the internal or external gaze of those who narrate the peripheries.
Nowadays, the periphery is a theme that has been so well covered by the arts (literature, the visual arts, music) and by the humanities in general (social, linguistic, anthropological and historical sciences) that it has now acquired a classic status, which must now attempt to find an interdisciplinary epistemological structure.
This thematic issue of Polifemo will welcome the work of researchers from the various disciplines – literary and other arts – who are studying the theme proposed.
Among the topics that may be developed, we can mention by way of example:
- the role of language and literature in the formation of the concept of ‘periphery’ with reference to some specific cases;
- the metaphor of the periphery and its connotations;
- the peripheries of literature (the noir genre and others);
- the literature of the peripheries;
- the condition of young people in the peripheries.
Other proposals for study on the subject put forward by those intending to collaborate in the publication will be examined by the Scientific Committee, in order to widen the field of exploration undertaken in this issue of the Magazine. Contributions will be accepted in Italian, English and French.
To this end, the Editorial Board proposes the following deadlines: a preliminary and essential step is the sending, to email@example.com, of an abstract (min.10/max.20 lines), keywords and a brief curriculum vitae of the proposer, by 1st October 2021 (absolute deadline). The Editorial Office will confirm to the authors the acceptance of the contributions by 15 October 2021. The deadline for submission of contributions is 15th February 2022.
All contributions will be subject to double blind peer review. The issue, edited by Prof. Giovanna Rocca and Prof. Marta Muscariello, will be published in June 2022.
(posted 5 May 2021)
Theorizing Literary Animals
Special issue 2/2022 of Studia Universitatis Babeș-Bolyai Philologia
Deadline for proposals: 1 November 2021
Guest editor: Dr. Ema Vyroubalova, Trinity College Dublin
This special issue seeks essays in English that engage with as well as challenge existing work in animal studies in relation to literary texts and/or theories from across different genres, historical periods, and linguistic and national traditions. Topics for possible essays include the following:
- relationship between animal studies and literary theory and/or history
- theorizing human-animal hybridities and continuities in literary texts
- alternatives to anthropocentrism and/or anthropomorphism in literary criticism and theory
- intersectionality and animal studies
- triangulating between animal studies, ecocriticism and literary theory/studies
- animals and translation theory
- impact of the animal rights movement on literature
- pedagogical approaches to combining animal and literary studies
- 1 November 2021 – proposal submission deadline (200-word abstract, 7 keywords, 5 theoretical references, 150-word author’s bio-note)
- 15 November 2021 – notification about acceptance
- 1 February 2022 – submission of full papers (Instructions for authors regarding formatting rules and style sheets can be found on the journal’s webpage: http://studia.ubbcluj.ro/serii/philologia/pdf/Instructions_En.pdf)
- 30 June 2022 – publication of the special-themed issue
(posted 22 February 2021)