“Four E’s through the Centuries: Cognitive Science and the Ancient Mediterranean”
Cornell University Department of Classics Graduate Conference
Saturday, April 29, 2023

Growing interest in the cognitive sciences has inspired fascinating new approaches to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world in recent years. Cognitive theories, which investigate the human mind and human behavior, have been applied to a wide variety of subject areas in Classics including literature, visual arts, music, performance, archaeology, and linguistics. Through such applications, we have gained a deeper, multifaceted understanding of the ancient world and its artifacts, inhabitants, and experiences.

Cognitive approaches invite as many questions as they answer. Of course, cognitive science implies universal human experiences in mind and body, but to what extent are these experiences shaped by historical contexts? What are the implications of this tension for the agency of people, groups, and objects? A philologist might wonder how the authors and audiences of ancient texts engaged with certain words, rhythms, syntaxes, and images. A historian might consider how actors respond to diachronic change and continuity. An archaeologist might ponder how people made, used, and reacted to objects in religious, social, and occupational contexts. A scholar of reception might explore how modern audiences interact with ancient materials and subjects. A teacher might consider how cognitive approaches improve their pedagogy.

The graduate students of the Cornell University Department of Classics invites papers from a range of institutions and expertise in and beyond Greece and Rome to discuss these and related questions in the field. We welcome and encourage submissions from individuals of underrepresented backgrounds.

Suggested topics:
– 4E (embodied, embedded, enactive, extended) cognition
– emotions, perception, and the senses
– identities and self
– mental imagery and representation, imagination, metaphor
– language and speech, cognitive linguistics
– distributed and social cognition
– phenomenology
– cognitive literary theory
– performance
– cognitive archaeology
– reception
– cognitive pedagogy

We are excited to invite Dr. Morten H. Christiansen as keynote speaker. Dr. Christiansen is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology at Cornell and Professor in Cognitive Science of Language at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Submission: Please submit abstracts as a pdf to this Box folder (https://cornell.app.box.com/f/3f21f6b488744163aa59eb3198931b92) by January 23, 2023. Submissions should include a title, abstract of 500 words max (not including bibliography), and selected bibliography. Please also send a cover page including your name, institutional affiliation, email address, and paper title to [email protected] with the email title “4E cover page.”

Optional: We give the option to include a paragraph describing how you and your work contribute to the diversity of the conference below your abstract (250 words max).

Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes. We will send notifications about accepted abstracts by February 15, 2023.

Contact: Please send any questions to the organizers at [email protected].

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