Cognition and Culture Institute website


Olivier Moren just got in touch to tell us that the International Cognition and Culture Institute has just opened a new website/blog at http://www.cognitionandculture.net. I just surfed over to check it out, and there’s already plenty of stuff happening. Although it’s a new site, there’s a lot of good content already, and a formidable group of writers, from the sound of it. The writers used to have the AlphaPsy blog on humanities and human nature, but that site hasn’t had any new postings in a while, so it’s nice to have the group back with new material.

The International Cognition & Culture Institute comes out of the Department of Anthropology and apparently the Department of Political Science of the London School of Economics and Political Science with support from the Institut Jean Nicod (ENS, EHESS, CNRS) in Paris. Their website also includes a section for job listings (excellent!) and an intriguing note about a grant competition coming up in 2009:

Sometime in 2009, we will hold a small grant competition. Successful applicants will be funded to carry out the same research task in a variety of cultural settings, thus generating a body of comparable data

I’ll be interested to see what they come up with and the resulting data.

Although I’m fascinated by cognitive anthropology, cross-cultural psychology, and the field that we might describe as ‘culture and cognition,’ I often feel that some of the stuff that we do at Neuroanthropology doesn’t sit well within the ‘cognition’ category. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I put together thoughts for a book proposal, but I worry that — nifty alliterations aside — the term ‘cognition’ puts front and centre certain qualities of the brain, body, and nervous system, and (even unintentionally) marginalizes other qualities, some of which I’m particularly interested in. Of course, the term ‘neuroanthropology’ has problems, too, as we’re just as interested in the effects of culture on the skeleton, muscle tissue, endocrine system, and other viscera as we are upon the neural wetware.

All reservations aside, I’m really happy Olivier contacted me. I’ll be putting their site on our blogroll (if Daniel hasn’t beaten me to it) and keeping a close eye on what they produce. Looking forward to the online seminars and more about the comparative projects that the Institute is able to sponsor.

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