2015 – Neurohumanities conference

JOURNÉE D’ÉTUDE NEUROSCIENCES, LITTÉRATURE, LINGUISTIQUE

INNER SPACE / INNER SPEECH

 

In Theory of Literature (1948), new critics Wellek and Warren write: “Language is the material of literature as stone or bronze is of sculpture.” Indeed, literature sculpts language: the text sculpts its reader’s inner voice, giving it strange tones and rhythms. From such molding, new dimensions of inner space are born. Literary characters and narrators engage in lengthy interior monologues, reflecting our own experience of interiority, and give us back a certain image of consciousness. Today, various branches of neurology, and of cognitive and developmental psychology supply us with tools to think about the relationship between inner speech and inner space within literature. This one-day conference will be an opportunity to explore these issues through interdisciplinary conversation bringing together literary scholars, linguists and cognitive psychologists.

 

Organisée en collaboration entre :

– le projet IDEX « Monologuer » (CERILAC/IHP, Paris VII)

– le groupe de recherche Science+Littérature de Paris III (EA 4398 PRISMES)

– le Neurohumanities Research Group de l’université Duke (USA)

 

1er juin 2015

 

Institut du monde anglophone (grand amphithéâtre)

5, rue de l’École de médecine

75006 Paris

métro Odéon

 

13:20-14:40 – Présentations étudiantes de la Duke Neurohumanities Summer School

14:40-15:00 – Pause

15:00-16:50 – Between private and social speech : insights from neuroscience and embodied cognition

 

15:00-15:30 – From private speech to inner speech in child development

Aliyah Morgenstern (Sorbonne Nouvelle University)

Despite the attention given to private speech by both Vygotsky and Piaget in their developmental theories of the relation between thought and language, little is known on how it relates to social speech and how it develops into inner speech in child development. In this paper influenced by the pioneering research conducted by Katherine Nelson and her colleagues and enriched with new French and American data, I will give an overview of the advantages of children’s private speech as a space to verbally reenact their experiences of social speech and to play with language, dialogue and thought.

Professeur à l’université Sorbonne Nouvelle, où elle dirige l’école doctorale « Etudes Anglophones, Germanophones et Européennes », responsable scientifique de l’ANR COLAJE, Aliyah Morgenstern est spécialiste de linguistique anglaise et des approches cognitives et développementales du langage, qu’elle développe notamment dans L’enfant dans la langue (2009).

 

15:30-16:00 – Cognitive neuroscience tapping inner language

Hélène Lœvenbruck (CNRS)

« A strange idea was pecking at his brain like a chicken in the egg, and very, very much absorbed him». As exemplified in this excerpt from Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, inner language has long been under the scrutiny of literature and humanities, through the practice of introspection, observation and reflexion. The use of recent experimental methods and technology in neuroscience, psychology, psycholinguistics and psychiatry provides a new window of insight into the nature and functions of inner language. Based on recent data from these fields, we will compare the behavioural, electrophysiological (respiratory and electromyographic) and cerebral (functional MRI and intracranial electroencephalography) correlates of overt and covert speech. We will also explore inner language during reading, writing or mind wandering and we will describe inner language in deaf signers. Finally, we will address two cases of inner language dysfunction: rumination and auditory verbal hallucinations.

Hélène Lœvenbruck is a CNRS Research Associate, affiliated with the Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognition (UMR 5105) in Grenoble, and was awarded a bronze medal from the CNRS in 2006 for her works on the neural correlates of verbal pointing. After an engineering training in electronics, signal processing, and computer science and post-graduate studies in cognitive sciences and phonetics, she is now researching the capacity for self- and other-monitoring through language. Her approach involves behavioural and neuroimaging experiments, with adults, children and infants, and with healthy participants as well as patients, across 3 themes: (i) Inner speech, auditory verbal hallucinations and rumination, (ii) Language development in typical children and children with impairments, (iii) Neuroprosody.

 

16:00-16:30 – Outer Spaces, Outer Speech: Cognitive Theory and the Haitian Revolution

Deborah Jenson (Duke University)

Back in 1980, Lakoff and Johnson articulated a linguistic argument that metaphor is not a matter of « extraordinary rather than ordinary language, » but rather a cognitive structure « we live by. » Metaphor, they claimed, « governs » everyday functioning, including planning, execution, and description of action. Since then, neuroscience research, and particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging, has begun to illuminate the mystery of how metaphors activate the somatosensory cortex, such that a « call to action » might stir auditory, circulatory, and motor response. This paper interrogates poetic cognition in « out speech »: the call of slaves to action in the Haitian revolution, and in ritualized acts of « declaring, » « proclaiming, » and « pronouncing » independence in Haiti. The paper focuses especially on Western identifications of leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines with the tiger, and Dessalines’s use of the same trope to stir his fellow slaves to break out of the constrained space of the colony.

Co-director of the Neurohumanities Research Group and director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, where she is professor of Romance studies, Deborah Jenson published a literary history of the Haitian Revolution, « Beyond the Slave Narrative » (Liverpool UP 2011, paperback 2012, ebook 2013) and a volume on the global legacies of psychoanalysis: « Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties » (with Warwick Anderson and Richard Keller, Duke UP 2011). Her current research focuses on trauma and global mental health in Haiti, theories of mimesis, and cognitive approaches to literature.

 

16:30-16:50 – Discussion

16:50-17:00 – Pause

17:00-18:50 – Inner Speech and Literature: Errors and Failures

 

17:00-17:30 – De la chambre biographique à la chambre comme métaphore du psychisme dans l’œuvre de Kafka

Jean-Michel Caralp (Université de Montpellier)

Combinant une approche neuroscientifique et une approche plus psychologique qui, en renouvelant la symptomatologie béhavioriste, aborde le syndrome à travers la parole de patients, de l’intérieur, la communication postule à partir des matériaux biographiques et fictionnels, que Franz Kafka était atteint du syndrome d’Asperger. Ainsi, la chambre, lieu biographique d’une expérience traumatique pour Kafka, devient dans son œuvre l’espace intérieur équivalent au discours intérieur d’un Asperger. La métaphore de la chambre dans certains romans devient un matériau dans lequel Kafka sculpte la forme visible de ses difficultés psychiques invisibles. À cette lumière, l’œuvre kafkaïenne, en particulier Le Procès et La Métamorphose, se comprend comme le vecteur et l’espace d’une auto-thérapie, d’une résilience et d’une sublimation où tout l’humour et toute la créativité de l’écrivain s’expriment face à un trouble qu’il ressent mais que son époque n’a encore ni perçu ni désigné.

Qualifié comme maître de conférences, Jean-Michel Caralp est chargé de cours en littérature française à l’université de Montpellier. Sa thèse a été consacrée au Vertige de la prémonition de Maeterlinck au surréalisme, sujet qu’il explore avec une approche à la fois littéraire ou esthétique et neurobiologique. À partir de 2010, il a été chargé de former et de piloter un réseau d’écoles doctorales arts et médias réunissant 13 universités. Il consacre à présent sa recherche aux questions de temporalité dans la littérature française aux XIX et XXème siècles et aux relations de la littérature avec les sciences ou technologies, plus particulièrement avec la psychiatrie et la neurobiologie. Il est membre associé du RIRRA21.

**This presentation will be in French. The English version of the abstract and biography is available below, along with the article related to this presentation.**

 

17:30-18:00 – Fräulein Else‘s dreams as space of a failed self-identification

Grazia Pulvirenti and Renata Gambino (University of Catania)

Professors of German Studies at University of Catania, Grazia Pulvirenti and Renata Gambino are co-founders and directors of the Neurohumanities Studies Research Network.

Grazia Pulvirenti’s research focuses on literature and performativity, visual theory, interculturality, Austrian culture, neurocognitive literature-studies. She has published about Austrian literature of the Twentieth century (Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Georg Trakl, Albert Ehrenstein, Thomas Bernhard, Erich Fried) especially modern poetry. She also researches in melodrama and eighteenth century drama.

Renata Gambino’s work is concerned with German literature of the ‘Goethezeit’, Neurocognitive Hermeneutics, gender studies, visual studies, cultural studies, intermediality, literary antropology, and German travelers in Italy. She has given lectures and seminars on her main research fields at Italian as well as foreign universities and is coordinator of a section of the Jean Monnet Module of the Catania University titled “New Skills for new Challenges” (2009-2013).

 

18:00-18:30 – The Author Speaks with a Forked Tongue: Some Cognitive Reflections on Playing with “Misidentification” of the Inner Voice in Literary Fiction

Roberta Tucker (University of South Florida)

I will be looking at 3 aspects of voice in a selection of works and discussing cognitive underpinnings for these aspects in terms of author/text/reader interaction. The first is free indirect discourse and its “misidentification” of the “I”. The second is haptic vs. Platonic components for the I. The third is formal misdirection on the part of the author.

Roberta Tucker has taught French at several colleges and universities across the United States, spending the last 20 years at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. She has been working in cognitive studies and literature since graduate school, when the field was known as epistemology and literature. She has attended and presented at numerous conferences, published articles, done book reviews, etc. She has worked mostly with 19th Century French literature, but also with American and British science fiction. She edited the May/June 2004 Journal of Consciousness issue on Literature and has taught a cross-disciplinary graduate course on Literature and Cognition. She is working with colleagues on grant proposals for research in music and literature.

 

18:30-18:50 – Discussion

 

***

 

Jean-Michel Caralp’s presentation :

From the biographical bedroom to the bedroom as a metaphor of mind in Kafka’s work

While combining a neuroscientifical approach with a more psychological one that, while renewing the behaviourist symptomatology, tackles the syndrom from inside, throughout suffering people speech, the paper postulates from biographical and fictional materials that Franz Kafka suffered from Asperger’s syndrom. Therefore, the bedroom where occurred a traumatic experience in Kafka’s biography, becomes into his work the inner space equivalent to an Asperger’s singular inner speech and feeling. The metaphor of the bedroom in some novels turns out to be a material in which Kafka sculpts a visible shape of his invisible psychological disorders. From these factors, Kafka’s work, mainly The Trial and The Metamorphosis, appears to be the vector and the field of self-therapy, of resilience and sublimation expressing the writer’s humour and creativity in front of a trouble that his time had neither understood nor denoted.

Qualified as a lecturer, Jean-Michel Caralp teaches French Literature in university of Montpellier. His thesis studied The Vertigo of Premonition in Modern Literature from Maeterlinck to Surrealism both with literary or aesthetic and neurolobiological approaches. Since 2010, he was commissioned to settle and lead a network connecting 13 French universities around Arts and Medias research fields. He presently carries out research works about temporality in the XIXth and XXth centuries French Literature and about links between literature and sciences, technologies and above all psychiatry and neurobiology. He is an associate member of RIRRA21.

The article related to this presentation is available here.

2 réflexions au sujet de « 2015 – Neurohumanities conference »

  1. Ping : « Inner Space / Inner Speech , journée d’études neurosciences et humanités | «Laurelyne Ramboz, chercheuse en littérature anglophone

  2. Ping : Actualité de colloques, journées, séminaires (juin 2015) | Kaléidosciences

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