Over the past two decades, an increasing number of artistic, literary, and scholarly projects have adapted cognitive and neurological approaches as part of their methods of analysis and/or performance. Artists often collaborate with scientists and humanities scholars whose work supports or challenges their projects. Similarly, scholars in the sciences have been looking to ground their work in philosophical questions that have traditionally been the domain of the humanities. Researchers and artists across the disciplines, now more than ever, are eager to think together in looking for answers to questions about what makes us human. These questions have formed the basis of the emerging field of neurohumanities.
In order to continue and foster this transdisciplinary dialogue and to create a platform that opens up possibilities for crossdisciplinary collaboration, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities will be hosting a series of salons on The Neurohumanities, starting in February, 2016.
As Caroline Jones points out, since the late 1980s, “the cultural inquiry into relations between the body and electronic technologies” has been extensive (2006:1). While the initial focus of the salons will follow Jones’ assertion and focus on questions of the body in art and performance and digital media, this is a broad call for all scholars and artists in fields—ranging from, but not limited to, media studies, performance theory, phenomenology, cognitive sciences, neuroscience, cultural studies, women’s studies, sociology, neuropsychology, and sports medicine.
The salons will take place on a Friday evening every month in State College and will spotlight the work of two guest artists or scholars, involve short introductions, presentations, pitches, or performances (less than five minutes) of project ideas and works-in-progress by participants, followed by a broad but thematic discussion that all participants will contribute to. These discussions will continue over a dedicated listserv that will be open to wider contribution. One of the goals of this initiative is to put together the intellectual and artistic output developed through these salons in a book that will be compiled in 2017.