Language, Literacy, Literature & the Mind

9 March 2016 | Senate House, London

Hosted by The Human Mind Project, this workshop brought together scholars from the humanities and sciences to explore the place of language, literacy, and narrative in human culture.

A story of the mind is a story of what makes us human. A story informed by the best science of the day and by a humanistic understanding of the contingencies of life and history.

What is the role of storytelling in this endeavour? Is there a connection between the emergence of both spoken and written language, and the development of the mind? What sort of cultural instrument is literature? And what cognitive faculties does the use of literature employ, and empower?

Beyond Symptomatic Reading
Sarah Churchwell

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The Evolutionary Origins of Human Communication and Languages
Thomas Scott-Philips

The Voices in our Heads
Charles Ferneyhough


Sarah Churchwell (London), Greg Currie (York), Charles Fernyhough (Durham), Laurie Maguire (Oxford), Evert Van Emde Boas (Oxford), Sophie Duncan (Oxford); Jacqueline Thompson (Oxford), Sophie Scott (UCL), Thomas Scott-Phillips (Durham).

Programme & Organisation

Language, Literacy, Literature & the Mind  was organized by the team of The Human Mind Project. An inclusive hub for the facilitation of interdisciplinary dialogue and enquiry, The Human Mind Project aims to define the major intellectual challenges facing research on the human mind.