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Worlding the Brain is an interdisciplinary symposium that stimulates a productive exchange of different views of the mutual influence of the extra-cerebral world on the brain and the brain on the world.

Detail Summary
Date Start 17 March 2016 End 19 March 2016

The human brain is ubiquitous in contemporary science and culture. Knowledge of the brain has made the journey from the labs of cognitive neuroscientists out into the world, where it has taken on a life of its own in various social fields and artistic and intellectual discourses, including the humanities.

This interest in the brain and its influence on culture at large are likely to continue, with the recent multi-billion US Brain initiative and EU Human Brain Project now being in place. At the same time, in a parallel development to the cultural dissemination of brain research cognitive neuroscientists are increasingly interested in how the brain’s functional and structural properties are partly determined by its material, social and cultural environments.

New research has begun to address how the brain responds to specific social and discursive practices or cultural information and how it is influenced by art, social interactions and technology. This interest in the interaction between brains and their environments has led to fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations between neuroscientists, social scientists and humanities scholars.

The ‘worlding’ of the brain occurs when we place the brain in worldly contexts, study its interaction with various environments and reflect upon its entanglements with cultural practices and processes. It is our aim to bring together scholars from different backgrounds in an interdisciplinary symposium that stimulates a productive exchange of different views of the mutual influence of the extra-cerebral world on the brain and the brain on the world. In order to study these processes, we will focus on patterns, rhythms and narratives as central themes of the symposium and crucial elements of the ‘worlding’ of the brain. On the one hand, patterns, rhythms, and narratives are used to sort, integrate, abstract and contextualize information in the brain. On the other hand, they are found in historical, social and cultural processes that provide the brain with environmentally specific information. Combining these perspectives can yield wide-ranging insights.

The symposium will therefore bring together neuroscientific, social scientific and humanities perspectives on their role in worldings of the brain.

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