JNT Dialogue 2014: "Thinking Bodies"

an interdisciplinary conversation about cognitive science, genetics, and the literary imagination

Featuring Laura Otis and Jay Clayton will take place on March 20th at 6:00 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium at Eastern Michigan University. Reception to follow afterwards.

“Scientific and Literary Creativity” ~ Laura Otis

Otis’s talk focuses on individual ways of thinking—making connections between neuroscience technologies and narrative ideas about how we talk about what we recall, particularly in terms of images.

“The Modern Synthesis: J.B.S. Haldane, Julian Huxley, and Aldous Huxley” ~ Jay Clayton

Clayton’s talk illuminates the relationship between modern science and its literary representations—challenging us to consider the mutual influences of these apparently disparate fields in advancing understandings of human genetics.

JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory is proud to sponsor this annual LBC-approved event. For more information, please see the JNT Facebook page, or contact jnt@emich.edu.


Laura Otis is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of English at Emory University, and was a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. Her latest project presents narrative portraits of thirty-four scientists, engineers, poets, novelists, designers, visual artists, literary scholars, and other creative people in the context of research on imagery and language from 1880 to the present day. Drawing heavily on cognitive neuroscience research from the last two decades, the book aims to create a dialogue in which personal insights and laboratory findings function as equal partners, each challenging and critically examining the other.

Jay Clayton is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy. His talk explores the social implications of genetics research in the early 1930s. Purposefully interdisciplinary in his approach, Clayton places the work of J.B.S. Haldane (one of the earliest prominent geneticists) alongside that of Julian Huxley (an evolutionary biologist) and Aldous Huxley (best known as the author of Brave New World).


Previous JNT Dialogue events include:

2013 --"The Queer Coomons" with speakers José Esteban Muñoz and Samuel Ray Delany, Jr.

2012 --"Nonhumans: Ecology, Ethics, Objects" with speakers Jeffrey J. Cohen and Timothy Morton

2011 -- "Failing to be Subjects: On Queerness and Negativity" with speakers Lauren Berlant and Jack Judith Halberstam

2010 -- "Globalization Now: Flows and Limits" with speakers Crystal Bartolovich and Paul Smith