MINDING BODIES/EMBODYING MINDS

Over the past decades, some of the world's most celebrated scholars, scientists, and writers have devoted their energies to the tak of explaining the mystery of how the mind works. Philosophers, physicists, linguists, biologists, and researchers in human, animal, and artificial intelligence have joined forces to map the mind and to explore the ways in which we experience the world around us. Their combined work is continually opening up the fascinating and complicated ways in which human identity is both shaped from the inside by biology and from the outside by culture and by the creative constitution of the individual him-or herself. Within this context, this course will take as its inquiry question, "In what ways do body, mind, and culture work to shape human identity and experience?" exploring potential answers in units on the senses, memory culture, and technology. To examine the many ways this question may be approached, the course readings will include selections by scientists from the fields of biology, genetics, neurology, psychology, computer science, and artificial intelligence, as well as selections from writers in the social sciences and humanities such as philosophers, naturalists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and scholars in English and gender studies. Because this question has also been a perennial one for creative writers and autobiographers, readings will also include a number of powerful personal essays and woks of short fiction, as well as an autobiography.