Call for Participation: “The Role of Empathy and Emotion in Understanding Fiction,” Göttingen University Spring School 2017

Dear Colleagues,

PhD students and post-docs may be interested in this opportunity:


Spring School “The Role of Empathy and Emotion in Understanding Fiction”
PhD students and Postdocs from the disciplines of philosophy, literary studies, andpsychology/neurosciences are invited to submit applications to participate in the interdisciplinary
Spring School “The Role of Empathy and Emotion in Understanding Fiction” to be held at Göttingen
University, 27-31 March 2017.The aim of this Spring School is to investigate the relationship between understanding andresponding affectively to fictions from the perspectives of philosophy, literary studies, andpsychology: do emotions and empathy play a decisive role in understanding fiction, and if so, how?Tackling this question poses challenges that are both theoretical and practical in nature. For example,there exist several competing theories in cognitive psychology and philosophy that conceptualizeemotions and their affective and cognitive components differently, and these theories makedifferent claims as to their empirical validity. Within literary studies it is customary to distinguishdifferent levels of a literary work that may present themselves as objects of either empathy or theemotions, and there are different theoretical and methodological approaches to interpreting fictionsaccordingly. Any investigation of the role of empathy and the emotions in understanding fictionstherefore has to combine theoretical and methodological know-how on both text analysis and readerresponses. As philosophers, literary scholars and psychologists will take part in this Spring School, itwill provide an opportunity for both empirically and theoretically oriented researchers to discuss howemotions and empathy can be said to play a decisive role in literary comprehension. Confirmedkeynote speakers are, Melanie Green (The State University of New York), Suzanne Keen (Washingtonand Lee University), Jenefer Robinson (University of Cincinnati), Gregory Currie (University of York),Derek Matravers (The Open University).Participants will also have the opportunity to present their own work. A more detailed description ofthe aims of the Spring School as well as a programme are available To apply for participation, please submit a research abstract (up to 500 words) that demonstratesyour interest in the topic of the Spring School. Please, also include a curriculum vitae. Participantswho wish to present and discuss their own work are asked to include a short abstract of theirpresentation.The deadline for submitting applications is
November, 15, 2016.
 Please, send your applicationmaterials as a single PDF to Christiana Werner ( Decisionswill be announced by December, 15, 2016. The number of participants is limited to 20.Accommodation, meals and refreshments as well as a subsidiary for travelling costs will be providedfor participants. There will be provision for child care, both during the sessions and in the evenings.For further questions please contact the organizers: Christiana Werner (; Tilmann Köppe (; Daniele Panizza( Spring School is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung

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