Goals

Students participating in the seminar will:

1. Gain an overview of a tradition of literary portrayals of the mind and brain in various genres, written during a variety of eras by a range of authors with diverse points of view and experience.

2. Become familiar with major debates  and theories about mind and brain, consciousness, affect, and the physiology of selfhood.

3. Become adept at recognizing and analyzing formal features of literary experiments in representing consciousness, neurological experience, memory, and mind-body relations–with particular attention to how genre conventions, historical context, and theoretical arguments illuminate literary texts.

4. Practice close reading and analysis of works of literature, scientific theory, philosophy of the mind, and social activism.

5. Practice writing in stages and gain understanding of their own writing process, through informal writing (in class and on course blogs), drafting, responding to feedback from peers and the instructor, and revision.

6. Conduct research on a self-defined topic relevant to course readings and discussion–including the critical evaluation of online sources, the use of research databases and library resources, and participation in scholarly and intellectual “conversations” at play in various texts: literary works, scholarly articles, journalism, and popular writing.

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