CFP: Neurology and Literature, 1800-present (11/30/05; ACLA, 3/23/06-3/26/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Anne Stiles
contact email:

Princeton, NJ, March 23-26, 2006

American Contemporary Literature Association Annual Meeting: The Human and
Its Others

Seminar Title: Neurology and Literature, 1800-present

Seminar Organizer(s): Anne Stiles, UCLA; Maria Farland, Fordham University

Neurologists from the nineteenth century to the present have actively
engaged in debates about what it means to be human. For instance,
late-Victorian laboratory experiments on the brains of frogs, dogs, pigeons
and monkeys suggested that animal and human brains are uncomfortably
similar. These findings caused scientists and laymen alike to ponder whether
humans are soulless automata. This seminar will explore how literary authors
after 1800 have intervened in debates regarding brain function. In so doing,
we aim to fill a prominent gap in current scholarship. Although there has
been much excellent work on the relationship between literature and science
in recent years, there has been very little discussion of the traffic
between neurology and literature. Rather than suggesting that neurology
influenced literature or vice versa, this seminar will emphasize the complex
dialogue between these two disciplines. To that end, we will consider papers
examining literature from a neurological perspective, as well as papers
performing literary explications of neurological texts.

Participants may address topics including (but not limited to):
-Neurological explanations of mental illness
-Debates surrounding localization of brain function
-Aphasia and other communication disorders
-Motor automatism (somnambulism, automatic writing, etc.)
-Controversial treatments like electroshock therapy, rest cures, etc.
-Hypnoid or dissociative mental states
-Phrenology and physiognomy in Victorian literature and science

How to submit proposals:
Visit ACLA's paper submission site:
The list of accepted seminars for the 2006 Annual Meeting has been posted.
The conference is organized primarily into seminars (or “streams”), which
consist either of twelve papers, if they meet on all three days of the
conference, or eight to nine papers, if they meet on two days. Papers should
be 15-20 minutes long–no longer–to allow time for discussion. To propose a
paper, first consult the list of accepted seminar proposals. If you find a
topic there that fits your paper, select that seminar when you fill out the
paper proposal submission form.
If you do not find a seminar topic that fits your paper, you may propose
your paper for the
general pool, out of which additional seminars are likely to be formed.

The submissions period for individual papers will begin thereafter and end
on November 30, 2005. Please email Anne Stiles ( if you have
any questions about this particular seminar.

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Received on Tue Nov 08 2005 - 17:13:33 EST

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