CFP for Moving Minds: converting cognition and emotion in history

circa 1500 Tempera on wood panel, 140 × 207 cm (55.12 × 81.50 in) Alte Pinakothek Digital restoration: Dale Cotton:
Call for Papers
Moving Minds: converting cognition and emotion in history
Macquarie University, Sydney
March 2-4, 2016

We are pleased to announce an interdisciplinary conference on Moving Minds: converting cognition and emotion in history to be held at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, on March 2-4, 2016.

– What is the history of the mind?
– How do cognition and emotion relate, now and historically?
– How are their histories to be studied?

Keynote speakers:
Gail Kern Paster, Folger Shakespeare Library and Shakespeare Quarterly, Washington D.C.
Monique Scheer, Historical & Cultural Anthropology, University of Tübingen
Justin E.H. Smith, Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences, Université Paris Diderot – Paris VII
Harvey Whitehouse, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford
Paul Yachnin, English, McGill University and Early Modern Conversions
Contact and Enquiries:

This conference is jointly organized and sponsored by three distinct interdisciplinary research groups spanning the humanities, social sciences, and cognitive sciences: the ARC (Australian Research Council) Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), hosted by the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University (; the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800 (; and the McGill-based project Early Modern Conversions: religions, cultures, cognitive ecologies (

The primary historical focus of the conference is the Medieval and Early Modern period (roughly 1100-1800), but we will also consider historical, comparative, or theoretical papers addressing earlier or later periods.

Background: The history of moving minds and moved minds involves conversions and transformations of many forms, in technology and religion and natural philosophy, in rituals and skills and forms of reasoning, in art and music and language and identity. Is there a field of ‘cognitive history’ or ‘historical cognitive science’? Is there a ‘cognitive turn’ in cultural history and literary theory? If so, how does it relate to the maturing interdisciplinary study of the history of emotions? Do these approaches advance on existing historical work on mentalities, practices, embodiment, the senses, memory, narrative, or material culture?

Likewise, can historical evidence actively inform the cognitive sciences? Is the use of modern psychological categories in interpreting the past inevitably anachronistic or presentist? In what ways are emotional and cognitive phenomena intrinsically historical? In turn, how do minds shape and constrain history? How do cognition and emotion fit into an understanding of history on deep or evolutionary timescales?

Call for Papers: We now invite submissions of abstracts for papers and symposia. Please submit abstracts of 300-600 words by *Friday 30 October 2015 [deadline extended to Tuesday 10 November]* by email to We invite submissions from humanities, social sciences, and cognitive sciences. We seek papers that address relations between cognition and/or emotion in history. We welcome both specialist research papers within specific sub/disciplines, and integrative papers aiming to forge connections between sub/disciplines.

Contributed papers should be no longer than 20 minutes presentation time. Symposia should include at least three papers offering distinct perspectives on a single topic, and may include a commentary. We also welcome detailed proposals for specific debates, book symposia and author-meets-critics forums, or sessions of other formats, on theoretical, conceptual, comparative, or controversial issues in the interdisciplinary history of moving minds or emotion and cognition. No individual should be presenting author or first author on more than one paper.

Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the program committee, and decisions on acceptance will be notified by *20 November 2015*. We anticipate subsequent publication of refereed conference proceedings. Further details on conference registration, accommodation, social events, and local information will follow.

Conference committee

Organizers: John Sutton (Cognitive Science, Macquarie); Evelyn Tribble (English, Otago)

Local committee: Amanda Barnier (Cognitive Science, Macquarie [CCD]); Malcolm Choat (Ancient History, Macquarie); Greg Downey (Anthropology, Macquarie); Helen Groth (English, University of New South Wales); Antonina Harbus (English, Macquarie); Chris McCarroll (Cognitive Science, Macquarie); Rachel Yuen-Collingridge (Ancient History, Macquarie)

Advisory committee: Patricia Badir (English, University of British Columbia [Conversions]); Stephen Gaukroger (History & Philosophy of Science, Sydney); Andrew Lynch (English & Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia [CHE]); Juanita Ruys (Medieval & Early Modern Centre, Sydney [CHE]); Benjamin Schmidt (History, Washington [Conversions]); Jacqueline van Gent (English & Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia [CHE]); Stephen Wittek (Early Modern Conversions, McGill [Conversions]); Charles Zika (History, Melbourne [CHE]).

There will be a related Conversions/ History of Emotions event in Perth, Western Australia, on March 7-8 after this conference: details to follow.

Professor John Sutton
Deputy Head, Department of Cognitive Science
Australian Hearing Hub
Macquarie University, Sydney,
NSW 2109, Australia
Phone: +61 (0)2 9850 4132

Macquarie University