CFP: [Medieval] CFP: Kalamazoo 2008, Cognitive Approaches to Medieval Texts

full name / name of organization: 
Ronald J. Ganze
contact email:

International Medieval Congress 2008
Call for Papers: Cognitive Approaches to the Literature of the Middle Ages

The use of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology
in literary criticism has increased exponentially in the last decade;
several monographs and essay collections on the subject have appeared, and
entire issues of journals, both in literary studies and in the cognitive
sciences, have been dedicated to the study of literature using a cognitive
approach. We are also beginning to see conferences dedicated to the
cognitive study of literature, with at least two national conferences in
2006 alone.

This approach has important implications for the study of medieval
literature and culture, as it both supplements and acts as a corrective to
the predominant social constructionist model through which we usually read
texts and their characters. In some very important ways, it opens the
medieval texts to understandings and interpretations that the social
constructionist model often closes off. It also provides a useful way of
understanding narrative, as cognitive psychology and neuroscience now
understand the impulse to narrative as hard-wired into the human brain, and
as the primary means by which we make sense of reality.

This session would seek to bring work in this area to the Middle Ages and
to the attention of medievalists, who may find this new approach useful and

Email submissions preferred (MS Word (2003 or earlier) or rich text format
only, please). Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent by
September 1, 2007, to Ronald J. Ganze at one of the following addresses:

(before August 10):
Department of English
1409 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(after August 10):
Department of English
212 Dakota Hall
University of South Dakota
414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069-2390

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Received on Wed Aug 01 2007 - 22:42:55 EDT

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