Memory, Mediation, Seriality: Re-cognizing Literary and Cultural Studies, Re-membering the Subject

Associated Project C

Taking off from three central concepts of cultural analysis—memory, mediation, and seriality—this project interfaces methods and research questions of Cultural Studies and the cognitive sciences to explore the potential of such trans-disciplinary dialogue for our sense of cultural practice. What issues relevant to current Cultural Studies can be interrogated at the crossroads with the cognitive sciences? And in what ways can cultural analysis and cognition research be mutually instrumental?

Since both constructivism (which relegates the materiality of the body and cognition to the periphery of its perspectives) and current brain research (which cannot adequately account for consciousness and individual experience by way of neurophysiology) position the subject as nodal point and blind spot of their inquiries, conceptions of subjectivity are central to this study. After all, both the subject and its modes of perception are continuously being redesigned by a complex and ever-shifting media ecology. This project therefore focuses on serial phenomena such as cinematic adaptations of literary texts, advertisements, and computer tomography which, as transformations of canonized late 19th- and early 20th-century cultural practices, mediate new processes of perception rather than modes of cultural memory. What, however, would it mean for Cultural Studies to acknowledge and "re-member" the subject as an agent whose main faculty is to transform fragmented experiences into coherence?

Director: Prof. Dr. Sabine Sielke, American Studies, Bonn