Worlding the Brain. Patterns, Rhythms, Narratives in Neuroscience and the Humanities

Date: March 17-19, 2016
Location: University of Amsterdam 

Preliminary program WORLDING THE BRAIN_040216
CONFERENCE READER Worlding the Brain

RMeS RMa students can obtain 2 EC by preparing for and attending the international conference “Worlding the Brain: Patterns, Rhythms, Narrative in Neuroscience and the Humanities” in Amsterdam on March 17-19, 2016. This conference explores the ‘worldings’ of the brain in various discursive, cultural and technological environments and reflects upon the entanglements of neuronal processes with cultural practices. Confirmed keynote speakers are Prof. N. Katherine Hayles (Duke University), Prof. Jean Pierre Changeux (Collège de France, Institut Pasteur) and Prof. Andreas Roepstorff (Aarhus University). In order to obtain credits, students have to attend the conference, study the conference reader (ca. 170 pp.) and write a brief report. In order to register please send an e-mail with your name, university and research school to before March 7, 2016. (RMeS RMa students are eligible for a fee waiver).

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. N. Katherine Hayles (Duke University)
  • Prof. Jean Pierre Changeux (Collège de France, Institut Pasteur)
  • Prof. Andreas Roepstorff (Aarhus University)

The human brain is ubiquitous in contemporary science and culture. Knowledge of the brain has made the journey from the labs of cognitive neuroscientists out into the world, where it has taken on a life of its own in various social fields and artistic and intellectual discourses, including the humanities. This interest in the brain and its influence on culture at large are likely to continue, with the recent multi-billion US Brain initiative and EU Human Brain Project now being in place. At the same time, in a parallel development to the cultural dissemination of brain research, cognitive neuroscientists are increasingly interested in how the brain’s functional and structural properties are partly determined by its material, social and cultural environments. New research has begun to address how the brain responds to specific social and discursive practices or cultural information and how it is influenced by art, technology and social exchanges. This interest in the interaction between brains and their environments has led to fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations between neuroscientists, social scientists and humanities scholars.

The ‘worlding’ of the brain occurs when we place the brain in worldly contexts, study its interaction with various environments and reflect upon its entanglements with cultural practices and processes. It is our aim to bring together scholars from different backgrounds in an interdisciplinary setting that stimulates a productive exchange of different views of the mutual influence of the extra-cerebral world on the brain and the brain on the world. In order to study these processes, we will focus on patterns, rhythms and narratives as central themes of the symposium. On the one hand, patterns, rhythms, and narratives are used to sort, integrate, abstract and contextualize information in the brain. On the other hand, they are found in historical, social and cultural processes that provide the brain with environmentally specific information. Combining these perspectives can yield wide-ranging insights. This symposium will therefore bring together neuroscientific, social scientific and humanities perspectives on the role of patterns, rhythms and narratives in worldings of the brain.

Conference website:

This symposium is organized by the ASCA research group Neuroaesthetics and Neurocultures, and in collaboration with the following partners:

Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies, the Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen, Amsterdam Brain and Cognition, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), and Art of Neuroscience