Thursday 3 July 2008

Psychology of Theatre Conference

An upcoming conference on Theatre and Cognitive Science may be of interest to those curious about the psychology of fiction. The details are below, for those who might want to attend or present:

Call for Papers

University of Pittsburgh
February 27th and 28th, 2009

Plenary Speaker:
Mark Johnson, Department of Philosophy, University of Oregon
"Cognition and the Arts"

The University of Pittsburgh's Symposium on Theatre and Cognitive Studies will feature new work at the intersection of theatre/performance studies and the studies of the mind and brain. We encourage paper proposals from theatre and performance scholars working in the fields of acting, spectatorship, directing, design, playwriting, and theatricality. We also encourage proposals from cognitive literary critics with an interest in drama, including script analysis and dramaturgy.

Topics presented may include (but are not limited to) conceptual integration ("blending"), Theory of Mind, empathy studies, affordances, emotions, memory, and cognition as these relate to the history, theory, and practice of the theatre. Final papers should be twenty minutes long.

Mark Johnson is the Knight Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. He is the author of The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason (Chicago, 1987) and The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding (Chicago, 2007). With George Lakoff, Johnson has co-authored the highly influential Metaphors We Live By (Chicago, 1980) and Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (Basic Books, 1999). In keeping with recent emphases on "cognitive embodiment," Johnson researches the ways in which meaning and cognition are intimately tied to embodied epistemology and to what he calls "the pervasive aesthetic characteristics of all experience."

Symposium Organizers: Bruce McConachie, University of Pittsburgh; Rhonda Blair, Southern Methodist University; F. Elizabeth Hart, University of Connecticut; Pil Hansen, University of Toronto; John Lutterbie, SUNY Stony Brook; and Amy Cook, Indiana University.

Send 200-300 word proposals to Pil Hansen and John Lutterbie by emails only: and

Deadline for all proposals: October 1, 2008

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