Worlding the Brain

Neurocentrism, Cognition and the Challenge of the Arts and Humanities


Volume Editors: and
Moving beyond the neurohype of recent decades, this book introduces the concept of worlding as a new way to understand the inherent entanglement of brains/minds with their worldly environments, cultural practices, and social contexts. Case studies ranging from film, literature, music, and dance to pedagogy, historical trauma, and present-day discourses of mindfulness investigate how brains are worlded in an active interplay of biological, cognitive, and socio-discursive factors. Combining scholarly work with personal accounts of neurodiversity and essays by artists reflecting on their practical engagement with cognition, Worlding the Brain makes a case for the distinctive role of the humanities and arts in the study of brains and cognition and explores novel forms interdisciplinarity.

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Stephan Besser (PhD University of Amsterdam, 2009), is assistant professor in literary studies and modern Dutch literature at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of Pathographie der Tropen: Literatur, Medizin und Kolonialismus um 1900 (2013).

Flora Lysen (PhD University of Amsterdam, 2020), is assistant professor in science and technology studies at Maastricht University. She is the author of Brainmedia: One Hundred Years of Performing Live Brains, 1920-2020(2022).
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Together again, Apart
Stephan Besser and Flora Lysen

Part 1: Worlded Brains

1 ‘Worlding’ the Brain through the Cultural Practice of Rhetorical memoria
Michael Burke
2 The Mediated Brain
A Case Study on Experiential Engagement with Cinematic Form
Joerg Fingerhut
3 Getting a Kick out of Film
Aesthetic Pleasure and Play in Prediction Error Minimizing Agents
Mark Miller, Marc Anderson, Felix Schoeller and Julian Kiverstein
4 Transgenerational Trauma and Worlded Brains
An Interdisciplinary Perspective on “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome”
Machiel Keestra
5 Beworldered
An Autobiographical Inquiry of Epileptic Being
Trijsje Franssen
6 Pedagogy and Neurodiversity
Experimenting in the Classroom with Autistic Perception
Halbe Kuipers

Part 2: Narrative Entanglements

7 Personification as Élanification
Agency Combustion and Narrative Layering in Worlding Perceived Relations
Marco Bernini
8 Cognitive Formalism
Or, How Presence Machines are Built
Karin Kukkonen
9 “Watchman, What of the Night?”
Reading Uncertainty in Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood
Shannon McBriar
10 The Unfolding Now
Narrative Sense-Making from a Neurocinematic Perspective
Pia Tikka and Mauri Kaipainen

Part 3: Figuring the Brain

11 Set and Setting of the Brain on Hallucinogen
Psychedelic Revival in the Acid Western
Patricia Pisters
12 Modeling the Model
Reflections on a 10-Year Documentary about the Blue Brain Project
Noah Hutton
13 A Monk in the Office
Mindfulness and the Valuation of Popular Neuroscience
Ties van der Werff
14 Figuring Thought
Between Experience and Abstraction
Ksenia Fedorova

PART 4: Shared Patterns and Discordant Worlds

15 Circulating Neuro-Imagery A Trilogue
Antye Guenter, Flora Lysen, and Alexander Sack
16 What Have the Arts and Humanities Ever Done for Us?
Disruptive Contributions and a 4E Cognitive Arts and Humanities
Michael Wheeler
17 Measuring Acoustic Social Worlds
Reflections on a Study of Multi-Agent Human Interaction
Shannon Proksch, Majerle Reeves, Michael Spivey and Ramesh Balasubramania
18 Harmonic Dissonance: Synchron(icit)y
A Case Study of Experimentation at the Intersection of the Arts and Sciences
Suzanne Dikker and Suzan Tunca
19 Thanks for Sharing
Local Worlds, Xeno-Patterning, and Predictive Processing
Stephan Besser

All those interested in science studies, cognitive science, neuroscience, neuroaesthetics, neuroculture, literary studies, cultural analysis, media studies, performance studies, film studies, interdisciplinarity, art-science exchange
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