Conference: “Across the Generations: Legacies of Hope and Meaning”

September 11-13 will see the conference “Across the Generations: Legacies of Hope and Meaning” hosted at Fordham University in New York City. The anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson will be giving the keynote address, “The Changing Shape of Lives: Making Meaning across Time.” Jerome Bruner will also be part of a panel “Minds and Meanings” the first day. You can access the entire schedule here.

The conference is hosted by The Institute of General Semantics, whose website provides more info about the conference and the institute itself.

Language, Culture and Mind Conference IV

laiva
The fourth edition of the Language, Culture and Mind conference will take place at Åbo Akademi University on June 21-23rd, 2010. Åbo Akademi is located in Turke, Finland.

The main goal of the LCM conference is: “to articulate and discuss approaches to human natural language and to diverse genres of language activity which aim to integrate its cultural, social, cognitive, affective and bodily foundations [and] to contribute to situating the study of language in a contemporary interdisciplinary dialogue, and to promote a better integration of cognitive and cultural perspectives in empirical and theoretical studies of language.”

Plenary speakers are:

Bradd Shore (Emory University)
Dan Zahavi (Centre for Subjectivity Research, Copenhagen)
Cornelia Müller (Berlin Gesture Centre and Europa Universität Viadrina)
Peggy Miller, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Topics include:

•biological and cultural co-evolution
•comparative study of communication systems
•cognitive and cultural schematization in language
•emergence of language in ontogeny and phylogeny
•language in multi-modal communication
•language and normativity
•language and thought, emotion and consciousness.

To present something, here’s the basic info: “Abstracts of up to 500 words, including references, should be sent to lcm4turku@gmail.com as an attachment, in pdf or rtf format. Indicate if the abstract is for an oral or poster presentation. Note that there will be proper poster session(s), with one minute self-presentations to the audience in the plenary hall, just before the poster session. The deadline for abstract submission is Dec 15, 2009.”

All the details on participation are here.

And here’s the main LCM IV Conference website.

Encultured Brain Conference – Official Announcement and Submission Process

SLresearch3
The Encultured Brain conference will be held 8 October 2009 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. This conference will promote neuroanthropology, which aims to integrate anthropology, social theory, and the brain sciences.

As the first conference exclusively in this area, The Encultured Brain will provide a vision for the future of this line of integrative research, sparking conversations and establishing connections across disciplinary boundaries.
Patricia Greenfield
Two keynote presentations will be delivered by Prof. Patricia Greenfield of UCLA and Prof. Harvey Whitehouse of Oxford University.

Prof. Patricia Greenfield is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCLA, heavily involved in (and former Director of) the FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and the current Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center.

Prof. Harvey Whitehouse is Head of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford, Head of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA), Director of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind, and a Fellow of Magdalen College.

You can find the abstracts for these keynotes here and the preliminary schedule for the conference here.

Harvey WhitehouseThere are two main options for individuals to present their work, both designed to maximize the number of people who learn about each other’s research. A poster session will permit conference participants to show off substantive research and new ideas in a way that facilitates intellectual exchange in this emerging area of research.

Speed presentations are short talks of five minutes delivered to the whole assembled conference about what researchers, from advanced professors to students, are working on or would like to work on. We will have pre-printed message pads to allow the whole conference to share thoughts, as well as ample chances during breaks to make further contact and build substantive discussions.

There will also be a roundtable on research methods for breaking new ground in neuroanthropology. Finally, Greg Downey and Daniel Lende, the conference organizers and founders of Neuroanthropology.net, will deliver formal addresses outlining their respective visions for the field.

Thanks to the generous support from the Lemelson/Society for Psychological Anthropology Conference Fund as well as the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Graduate School, and the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame.

Conference Site: McKenna Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556

Conference Date: October 8th, 2009
Brain Puzzle
For more information, go to https://neuroanthropology.net/conference/ or email us at encultured.brain@gmail.com.

SUBMISSIONS & REGISTRATION PROCESS

All abstracts must be submitted by September 4th, 2009. Early submissions are encouraged.

Abstracts have a 200 word limit. Please use the following format, where you provide your name and short contact info, the title of your proposed poster or speed presentation, the abstract itself, and your indication for a poster and/or speed presentation. Note that co-authors are welcomed for posters.

LASTNAME Firstname (Affiliation; email). Title.
Body of abstract.
Format: Poster, Speed Presentation or Both

Here is an example:

LENDE Daniel (Notre Dame; dlende@nd.edu). Addiction and Neuroanthropology.
Approaches to addiction have been dominated by reductionist approaches in both the biological and social sciences…
Format: Speed presentation

The organizers encourage people to indicate the “Format: Both” option, as this will help us accomodate as many people as possible.

Please email your complete abstract to: encultured.brain@gmail.com

Cost: $50. This costs covers registration, conference materials, refreshments, lunch and an evening reception. (Note: the conference is free for Notre Dame faculty and students.)

Actual registration for the conference, including payment by credit card, is being handled through the Notre Dame Center for Continuing Education. Registration and hotel information for the Encultured Brain will be available there in the near future.

Submissions Due: September 4th, 2009.

Conferences: Cultural and Biological Contexts of Psychiatric Disorder and Cultural Memory

Two great conferences coming up early next year.

The first conference is Cultural and Biological Contexts of Psychiatric Disorder: Implications for Diagnosis and Treatment at UCLA, January 22-24, 2010.

Main Part of the abstract:

Our concept of mental illness in the West is largely shaped by the DSM diagnostic model. The DSM categorization of psychiatric disorders has been useful in driving research, and psychiatric neuroscience has made enormous strides in identifying some of the brain-based factors that contribute to mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, as well as suggesting possible drug therapies.

However, both neuroscientists and anthropologists have raised questions about the validity and utility of these categories. Neuroscientists are concerned that the categories obfuscate the key brain-behavior linkages underlying pathological processes. Anthropologists on the other hand argue that the categories are largely social constructions and that the current neurobiological zeitgeist minimally attends to social and cultural processes of mental illness.

Much still remains unknown, particularly how the social and cultural worlds interact with neurobiological processes to produce mental symptoms that we recognize as depression or psychosis in everyday life and what this interaction implies for diagnosis and treatment. The aim of this conference is to improve the quality of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment by giving specific attention to biological and cultural contexts and their interactions.

There is a long list of speakers, from Simon Baron-Cohen to Moshe Szyf, with Byron Good, Eric Kandel, Emily Martin and other notables in the middle. You can already see the schedule here.

The general public can register to attend, and there is also a call for posters, with submissions due October 2, 2009.

The second conference is Transcultural Memory at the University of London, February 5-6, 2010.

Part of the abstract:

The concept of cultural memory has overcome this binary opposition between the individual and the collective, attending to their reciprocal relationship and the cultural grounds on which their mediation takes place (Assman). How, though, does memory work when events are remembered across and between cultures? In an age of globalization, is it still possible to speak of local and national memory, or do the local and national always exist in implicit and explicit dialogue with the transnational?

Main Speakers:
Astrid Erll (University of Wuppertal)
Andrew Hoskins (University of Warwick)
Dirk Moses (University of Sydney)
Michael Rothberg (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Abstracts of no more than 500 words to transculturalmemory at gmail dot com by July 21st, 2009.

Main website for Cultural and Biological Contexts of Psychiatric Disorder.

Main website for Transcultural Memory.

Two Cultures Conference

two-cultures
This Saturday May 9th, The New York Academy of Sciences will host the conference The Two Cultures in the 21st Century. Co-sponsors include Science & the City, Science Communication Consortium, and ScienceDebate 2008.

The conference will pick up the debate initiated by C.P. Snow in 1959, that an inseparable gulf has opened between the sciences and the humanities and that we are the worse off because of that.

The main keynote speaker 50 years later is E.O Wilson, the evolutionary biologist and author of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (otherwise known as unification on science and evolution’s terms). To add substance to the conference, we have former congressman John Porter and Segway inventor Dean Kamen.

I’ve actually heard EO Wilson speak, it’s well-worth it. And there are plenty of other presenters that day, including Kenneth Miller, author of Finding Darwin’s God; Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, and science journalist Carl Zimmer. You can see the full list of invited speakers – definitely heavy weights in science and communication, which might be a better name for the conference. How to get science across to the public is one of the main concerns of most of them.

You can still register; the conference is being held at the New York Academy of Sciences in downtown Manhattan.

For those of you actually interested in CP Snow, Peter Dizikies had an illumating essay Our Two Cultures on Snow’s ideas and how they have stood the test of time back in March. And by coincidence, Stanley Fish just wrote God Talk in today’s Think Again, where he asks if belief in science is more irrational than belief in God, or more broadly, questioning our reliance on “science, liberal rationalism and economic calculation” for guidance on what to do.

BIG NEWS: First Neuroanthropology Conference!

We’ve hinted at this, but now it’s confirmed: the first Neuroanthropology Conference will be held 8 October 2009 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Daniel and I are very pleased to be able to announce, ‘The Encultured Brain: Neuroanthropological Explorations.’ We’ll have lots of news and information, including how to register and get involved, coming soon, but we wanted to post notice of the upcoming conference as soon as possible so that you can have a chance to pencil it into your calendars.

Update: You can now go to our official announcement, including details on submitting abstracts and registering.

Due to generous support from the Lemelson/Society for Psychological Anthropology Conference Fund as well as the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Graduate School, and the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame, this will be a bargain of a conference, registration fees basically coming back to you immediately in the form of eats and drinks.

Graphic from NYTimes, by Yarek Waszul
Graphic from NYTimes, by Yarek Waszul
One main part of the schedule will facilitate a kind of collective brain-storming, make connections (both mental and practical) meeting, rather than the standard anthropology panel set-up, where just a few people present 15 minute versions of their research.

We will have two keynote presentations, as well as a lot of ‘speed presentations’ in which participants will be able to briefly (about five minutes) talk to the whole assembled conference about what they are working on or would like to work on. We will have pre-printed message pads to allow the whole conference to share thoughts, as well as ample chances during breaks to grab the person you just heard share a great idea. Think of it as intellectual speed dating, in which a larger percentage of conference participants get to talk to the whole conference, rather than just to the small group that choose to attend your session.

There will also be an ongoing poster session for presenters so that we really get an opportunity to network in this emerging area of research. So much of what we hope to do is to create conversations over the fences that separate our respective disciplinary backyards, so we’re going to do our best to get people in touch. There will also be a roundtable on research methods for breaking new ground in neuroanthropology.

In addition, we’ll have keynote lectures by — drum roll, please — Prof. Patricia Greenfield of UCLA and Prof. Harvey Whitehouse of Oxford University. [Fixed that link…] We’re going to have profiles posted on both keynote speakers in the near future, but suffice to say that Prof. Greenfield is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCLA, heavily involved in (and former Director of) the FPR-UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development as well as the current Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center, Los Angeles (CDMCLA). I won’t even try to summarize her long record of interesting research on the brain, psychology, cross-cultural variation, child development, education, and media (I’ll try that in a later post, unless I can talk Daniel into it), but if you want a jump start, her academia.edu website has 16 of her papers available.

Prof. Harvey Whitehouse of the University of Oxford is also Head of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford, Head of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology (ISCA), Director of the Centre for Anthropology and Mind (CAM), and a Fellow of Magdalen College. Although he has written widely on religion, evolution, and his ethnographic research in Papua New Guinea, of late he has been one of the leaders in integrating cognitive, evolutionary, and anthropological research in Europe, especially on the subject of religion. Again, if you want to get the jump on our profiles, there’s a substantial list of his books and other publications available at the ISCA website.

We will also be having a number of invited guests, whom we’ll introduce as we get confirmations. This is just the first announcement, and we’ll be posting more soon, including registration information.