Cognition and Culture: The Book

Abrantes, Ana Margarida / Hanenberg, Peter (eds.): Cognition and Culture. An Interdisciplinary Dialogue.
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 178 pp., 1 fig., num. tables and graphs ISBN 978-3-631-61726-7 hb.

Human beings are cultural by nature. The human mind is as much the individual result of exquisite evolutionary engineering, as it is the outcome of an intense synergy with other minds in a densely social environment, shaped by culture. This realization encourages an interdisciplinary dialogue, in which scientists and humanists come together to discuss two challenges: studying culture in the age of cognitive science, and studying cognition with culture in mind.
Contents: Mark Turner: The embodied mind and the origins of human culture - Alexandre Castro-Caldas: The neurophysiological foundation of human cognition - Peter Hanenberg: Cognitive Culture Studies - Where science meets the humanities - Per Aage Brandt: What is culture? - A grounding question for cognitive semiotics - Ansgar Nünning: Towards a metaphorology of crises, or: The uses of cognitive metaphor theory for the study of culture - Augusto Soares da Silva: What's in a word? Mental and linguistic representations, culture(s) and the negotiation of meaning - Maria Clotilde Almeida: More on forbidden fruit blending: prying into the Portuguese mind - Ana Margarida Abrantes: Narrative - a key concept for cognition and culture - Vera Nünning: Interfaces between the cognitive sciences and the humanities.
More information here.

The Program

May 21st 2009
UCP Lisboa, Palma de Cima, Sala de Exposições

Opening session: 15.00 - 15.15

Afternoon Session: 15.15-18.30

General topic: From Body to Mind to Culture (Embodiment and the unification of science and humanities)

Mark Turner: The Embodied Mind and the Origins of Human Culture

Alexandre Castro Caldas: The neurophysiologic foundations of human cognition

Peter Hanenberg: Cognitive Culture Studies – a path toward the unification of science and humanities

May 22nd 2009
UCP Lisboa, Palma de Cima, Sala de Exposições

Morning session: 10.00-13.00

General topic: Culture Studies in the Age of Cognitive Science

Per Aage Brandt: What is human culture? From cognitive unity to cultural diversity (and back again)

Ansgar Nünning: Crises and Catastrophes: The Uses of Cognitive Metaphor Theory for the Study of Culture

Augusto Soares da Silva: What is in a word? Linguistic representations, culture(s) and the negotiation of meaning

Afternoon session: 15.00-18.00

General topic: Applying cognitive science to the study of cultural products

Maria Clotilde Almeida: More on forbidden-fruit blending: prying into Portuguese minds

Ana Margarida Abrantes: Narrative – a key concept for cognition and culture

Vera Nünning - Interfaces between Sciences, Literature and the Humanities

Closing remarks

The Project

Recent findings about human cognition have reshaped our understanding of culture. While the historical perspective in the studies of culture is concerned with the origins and differentiated development of human cultural products and social organizations, the cognitive view adds to these issues the interest in the biological and cognitive conditions that made it possible for such structures to emerge in the first place. Moreover, the cognitive perspective in the study of culture reveals the uniqueness of our cognitive architecture and its distinctive feature, namely that the human mind only completely unfolds in a synergy of minds. This feature of shared cognition is at the core of social and cultural organization. Human beings are cultural by nature and it is this condition that is on focus of a cognitive approach to culture, both in a diachronic perspective of the study of culture in human evolution, and the research of culture as a phenomenon in present times.
The CECC Conference on Cognition and Culture emerges in the context of this interdisciplinary research. It aims at promoting awareness about the cognitive foundation of culture across disciplinary fields of research, which traditionally focus on specific socio-cultural processes . This event intends to promote a reframing of the concept of culture, so that it encompasses not onlythe difference and variety of its products and manifestations, but also the cognitive conditions.
The guest speakers are distinguished researchers from different fields such as evolution psychology, aesthetics, cultural sciences, cognitive science, neurology and linguistics. They represent high rank institutions where studies on cognition and culture are presently being developed with different but compatible agendas.
The aim of hosting this event at the CECC Research Center for Communication and Culture is to broaden the span of culture studies within the research activities of this institution. The research line “Translating Europe across the ages” is committed to combine traditional cultural studies with research on the cognitive foundations of culture and cultural representations, which enable translation practices (here understood not only as semiotic transpositions but exchange of mental representations).
Moreover, by hosting this colloquium in Lisbon, the CECC aims at promoting international co-operation (particularly a closer and sustainable trans-Atlantic co-operation between the CECC in Lisbon and the CCC in Cleveland).

Mark Turner

Mark Turner is Institute Professor and Professor and Chair of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. His most recent book publication is an edited volume, The Artful Mind: Cognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity, from Oxford University Press. His other books and articles include Cognitive Dimensions of Social Science: The Way We Think about Politics, Economics, Law, and Society (Oxford), The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language (Oxford), Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science (Princeton), and Death is the Mother of Beauty (Chicago). He has been a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Advanced Study of Durham University. He is external research professor at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study in Cognitive Neuroscience and distinguished fellow at the New England Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Psychology. In 1996, the Académie française awarded him the Prix du Rayonnement de la langue et de la littérature françaises.

Per Aage Brandt

Per Aage Brandt is the author of a dozen books and more than 150 published papers on cognitive and semiotic theory of language, grammar, aesthetics, art, and music.
As a scholar trained in Romance Philology (French and Spanish), he has worked his way through structural linguistics and structural semantics, and elaborated a series of models - in particular related to the technical and formal representations of textual phenomena such as enunciation, diegesis, and modal schematisms - for describing patterns of meaning in the framework of a discourse-oriented (Greimas) and later a formalized phenomenological (Thom, Petitot) and cognitively (Talmy) oriented semiotics.
In 2002, he was awarded the Grand Prix de Philosophie by l'Académie française and was made Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

Per Aage Brandt is Professor of Cognitive Science and Director of the Center for Cognition and Culture at Case Western Reserve University. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Cognitive Semiotics.

Ansgar Nünning

Ansgar Nünning has been Professor of English and American Litera­ture and Cultural Studies at the University of Giessen, Germany since 1996. He is the founding director of the Giessen Graduate School for the Humanities and of the International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture (GCSC) as well as the academic director of the International Ph.D. Program (IPP) “Literary and Cultural Studies” and a member of the Collaborative Research Center “Memory Cultures.” He has published widely on English and American literature, cultures of memory, narratology, and literary and cultural theory. His most recent book publications include: Metzler Lexikon Literatur- und Kulturtheorie (4th edition 2008); Introduction to the Study of Narrative Fiction (with Birgit Neumann, 2008); Einführung in die Kulturwissenschaften (edited with Vera Nünning, 2003); Medienereignisse der Moderne (edited with Friedrich Lenger, 2008); Metzler Handbuch Promotion: ForschungFörderungFinanzierung (edited with Roy Sommer, 2007); Englische Literatur unterrichten: Grundlagen und Methoden (with Carola Surkamp, 2006); An Introduction to the Study of English and American Literature (with Vera Nünning, 2004, 4th edition 2007); Kulturwissenschaftliche Literaturwissenschaft (edited with Roy Sommer, 2004); Erzähltextanalyse und Gender Studies (edited with Vera Nünning, 2004). He is editor of the series Uni Wissen Anglistik/Amerikanistik, Uni Wissen Kernkompetenzen; WVT-Handbücher zum literaturwissenschaftlichen Studium and ELCH: English Literary and Cultural History (both with Vera Nünning); MCM: Media and Cultural Memory/Medien und kulturelle Erinnerung (with Astrid Erll); and WVT-Handbücher zur Literatur- und Kulturdidaktik (with Wolfgang Hallet).

Alexandre Castro Caldas

Alexandre Castro-Caldas is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute of the Catholic University of Portugal. Until February 2004 he was Full Professor of Neurology at the University of Lisbon and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences of the Hospital de Santa Maria, in Lisbon, Portugal. He earned his M.D. and his Ph.D. from the University of Lisbon School of Medicine, where he started his career in 1974. 
He has been responsible for the Language Research Laboratory until 1998 and organized the Center for Neurosciences of Lisbon in 1990. He was President of the International Neuropsychological Society (2000-2001). His publications include a textbook of Neuropsychology in Portuguese, papers in international journals (Brain, Neurology, NeuroImage, Journal of Cognitive Neurosciences, JINS) and multiple chapters in national and international books. He is member of the editorial board of several national and international journals. His current research interests include several topics in Cognitive Neurosciences and in particular the modulatory effect of environmental stimulation in the human brain.

On February 11, 2009 he will receive the Distinguished Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society, in Atlanta (USA).

Augusto Soares da Silva

Augusto Soares da Silva is Associate Professor of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Catholic University of Portugal. After obtaining his PhD degree in Portuguese Linguistics with a doctoral dissertation in the field of cognitive semantics and under the supervision of Dirk Geeraerts, he launched the first MA program in Cognitive Linguistics in Portugal. He is the author of numerous publications on cognitive semantics and lexical semantics. He was the coordinator of the research project ConDiv, on the Lexical Convergence and Divergence of the Portuguese Language, which was supported by a research grant of the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology.  In 2006 he was awarded the Grande Prémio Internacional de Linguística Luís Filipe Lindley Cintra by the Portuguese Language Society for his book “O Mundo dos Sentidos em Português: Polissemia, Semântica e Cognição”.

His current research interests are cognitive semantics, lexical semantics, linguistic variation and change, cognitive grammar and corpus linguistics.

Maria Clotilde Almeida

Maria Clotilde V.F. Telles de Freitas Almeida is Professor of Linguistics at the German Department of the Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon, where she has taught several disciplines in graduate and post-graduate courses in the past 25 years, among which: Introduction to Linguistics, Language and Communication, German Linguistics, Textual Linguistics, Applied Linguistics for Translation and Language of the Media.
She has previously co-edited in 2006 Questions on the Linguistic Sign, Proceedings of the International Colloquium held on January 27, 2005 at the Faculty of Letters-University of Lisbon and Prismas de Formação: Contributos para o Desenvolvimento das Competências dos Formadores (2005). Presently, she is co-editing Questions on Language Change, Proceedings of the International Colloquium held on November 16, 2006 at the Faculty of Letters-University of Lisbon (in print).
She is co-author together with Professor Jürgen Schmidt-Radefeldt (University of Rostock) of the Wörterbuch der Jugendsprache Portugiesisch-Deutsch/Dicionário da Linguagem dos Jovens Português-Alemão/Alemão-Português, Peter Lang, Rostocker Romanistische Arbeiten 14 (in preparation); she also co-authors Jogar futebol com as palavras: representações metafóricas e mescladas no jornal “A Bola” à luz da abordagem cognitiva (Playing football with words: a cognitive study of metaphors and blends in “A Bola”)(in preparation).

Peter Hanenberg

Master of Arts (1988) and Dr. phil. (1993) in German Studies and Philosophy at the University of Bamberg (Germany), Doutor em Letras by the Coimbra University (1997), scholarship by the German National Academic Foundation (1983-1988), research and teaching assistant at the Institute for Modern German Literature in Bamberg 1988-1995, from 1995 to 2001 Professor Auxiliar at the Catholic University of Portugal in Viseu, since 2001 Professor Associado at the same University in Viseu (up to 2006) and Lisbon (since 2006), from 1997 to 2006 Director of the research group on Representations of Europe in German Literature at the Interuniversity Centre for German Studies (CIEG) in Coimbra (financed by FCT and evaluated as excellent), guest lecturer at the Universities of Bamberg (Germany), Galway (Ireland) and Minho (Portugal), since 2006 President of the Portuguese Association for German Studies, since 2007 coordinator of the research group on Translating Europe across the Ages at the Communication and Culture Research Centre at the Catholic University in Lisbon, translator of Portuguese Literature into German, author of several books and articles on German and European Literature and Culture, as. e.g. Europa. Gestalten. Studien und Essays (Frankfurt/M. etc.: Peter Lang 2004), Peter Weiss. Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Schreiben (Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag 1993), Geschichte im Werk Wolfgang Hildesheimers (Frankfurt/M. etc.: Lang 1989), Cognição, Linguagem e Literatura. Contributos para uma Poética Cognitiva (Coord. with Ana Margarida Abrantes, Coimbra: Minerva/Cieg 2005), Lyrik lesen! Eine Bamberger Anthologie . (ed. with Oliver Jahraus and Stefan Neuhaus, Düsseldorf: Grupello 2000), Aquilino Ribeiro: Deutschland 1920. Eine Reise von Portugal nach Berlin und Mecklenburg (translated and anotated by PH, Bremen: Atlantik 1997), Portugal und Deutschland auf dem Weg nach Europa. Portugal e a Alemanha a caminho para a Europa (Ed. with U. Knefelkamp and M. dos Santos Lopes Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus 1995). Together with Marília dos Santos Lopes editor of the series passagem, Studies in Cultural Sciences (Frankfurt/M.: Lang 2006ff.).

Ana Margarida Abrantes

Post-doc researcher at the Research Center for Communication and Culture, Catholic University of Portugal.aculdade de Ciências Humanas, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Linha Translating Europe Across the Ages)
Visiting Research Scholar, Department of Cognitive Science, Case Western Reserve University
She studied German and English Studies at the Universities of Aveiro, Essen and Innsbruck. She obtained her Masters Degree in Cognitive Linguistics from the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Braga in 2001 with a thesis on the cognitive foundations and strategies of euphemism. From 1997 until early 2006 she taught German Language and Linguistics and Didactics at the Department of German Studies of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Viseu. In 2008 she finished her PhD project in the field of German Language and Literature: Meaning and Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Peter Weiss’ Prose Work.
She received a grant from the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian to develop her research at the Center for Semiotics of the University of Aarhus, from February until November 2006, and a doctoral grant from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia to conclude her dissertation at the Department of Cognitive Science, Case Western Reserve University. 
In 2008 she obtained a research grant from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia to develop a two year post-doc project on Cognitive Linguistics at the Case Western Reserve University and the Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
Her research interests encompass German Studies, Cognitive Linguistics, Cognitive Poetics and Culture and Cognition Studies.

Vera Nünning

Vera Nünning studied English literature, history, and education in Cologne and graduated with a dissertation on Virginia Woolf's aesthetics. Her postdoctoral thesis deals with Catherine Macaulay and the political culture of English radicalism. After a ten-year period as lecturer and assistant professor for English Literature and Cultural Studies at the Technische Universität Braunschweig from 2000-2002. In 2002 she went to the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, where has held a chair for English Literature. She has published widely on British and American history, as well as on English literature and culture from the 18th to the 20th century. Among her works are Die Ästhetik Virgina Woolfs (1990), Catherine Macaulay und die politische Kultur des englischen Radikalismus, 1760-1790 (1998), Einführung in die amerikanische Geschichte (with Jürgen Heidekind, 1998), Englishe Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts (with Ansgar Nünning, 1998), Der englische Roman des 19. Jahrhunderts (2000), Grundkurs anglistisch-amerikanische Literaturwissenschaft (with Ansgar Nünning, 2001). Together with Ansgar Nünning she has edited a number of collections of essays, among them a volume on the twentieth-century English novel (1998), three volumes on cultural apporaches to narratology and Konzepte der Kulturwissenschaften: Theoretische Grundlagen, Ansätze, Perspektiven (2003). She has recently edited a volume on the key competences for students of humanities and culture studies. Besides these topics, one of her recent research interests is an interdisciplinary perspective on the humanities and the study of culture.