SPECIAL ISSUE – Advances in neuroaesthetics: Narratives and art as windows into the mind and brain

I am co-editing a special issue for the Journal for Comparative Literature and Aesthetics with Buddhika Bellana from Glendon Campus/York University Toronto on how behavioral and neuroscience research advancements in the study of literature and arts affect our current understanding of literature and aesthetics, challenges, and future directions. This is a great opportunity to contribute to an interdisciplinary dialogue and publish review and opinion pieces, ideas for theoretical accounts, and statement pieces. Please be in touch with your ideas and circulate widely among colleagues, postdocs, and students!

Here is the official invite for submissions of abstract ideas and papers:

Humans spend an incredible number of their waking hours engaged in narratives and art. Some cognitive (neuro)scientists propose that our minds/brains are optimized to process information in the form of narratives. Some even claim that the way in which we experience our own lives inherently carries a narrative character. Similarly, works of art can create and shape culture and elicit powerful emotional responses – responses that may be difficult to elicit otherwise. Why do narratives and art have such a hold over us? What might this affinity tell us about the architecture of our minds and brains?

Over the past 15 years, empirical research on literature, poetry, drama, arts, film, and dance have begun to gain a foothold in cognitive neuroscience. As cognitive neuroscientists, we have come to learn that our models of language, memory, and perception fall short of providing satisfactory accounts of our aesthetic experiences with narratives and art. Feeling immersed in a story or song, appreciating the beauty of a painting, or reveling in the lasting impact of a film or play are all essential parts of our psychological experience. This gap between cognitive neuroscience and aesthetics has become a fertile ground for empirical development and discovery.

In this special issue, we want to pay tribute to the latest advancements in understanding the human mind and brain through engagement with narratives and art, while also elucidating current challenges and laying out plans for future research. We invite submissions from behavioral and neurosciences, as well as current approaches in humanities and media studies to contribute to an interdisciplinary dialogue. Our goal is to enhance understanding and communication between disciplines in order to facilitate interdisciplinary approaches. We welcome contributions in forms of reviews, statement and opinion pieces, evolutionary approaches, as well as conceptual ideas, including theoretical models or proposed mechanisms underlying aesthetic experiences. Articles should be written for a broad academic audience without expert knowledge of a given discipline.

Guest Editors:
Franziska Hartung (Newcastle University, UK)
Buddhika Bellana (York University, Glendon Campus, Toronto, Canada)

Important dates:
Submission deadline: 31 December 2022
(please reach out if you need an extension)
Publication of the issue: May-June 2023, online publication short after acceptance
Please email your abstracts to Franziska.Hartung@newcastle.ac.uk and BBellana@glendon.yorku.ca with a copy to jclaindia@gmail.com.

Journal Submission Guidelines:
The journal is fully open access and has no publication fee.
Submissions must be properly typed out in MS Word (Times New Roman, 12 Font), not exceeding 8,000 words and not below 4,000, complete with an abstract of 100 words alongside 4 or 5 keywords, incorporated within the essay itself. All essays shall be peer-reviewed (refereed) and those abounding in solecisms, catachresis, or insufficiently argued shall be returned unread. ‘Works Cited’ and ‘Notes’ must preferably follow the MLA 8th convention without exception.
Each essay submitted must carry a declaration that it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. The least suspicion of plagiarism will result in an outright rejection of the article.
The cover letter should include a brief author’s bio with no revelation of the author’s identity in the paper itself. An acknowledgement shall be sent upon receipt. A further communication shall be made only after the editor(s) considers the paper worthy of publication.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with ideas and questions!

Franziska & Buddhika

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