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A Field Guide to a New Meta-field

Bridging the Humanities-Neurosciences Divide

Barbara Stafford is a pioneering art historian whose research has long helped to bridge the divide between the humanities and cognitive sciences. In A Field Guide to a New Meta-Field, she marshals a distinguished group of thinkers to forge a ground-breaking dialogue between the emerging brain sciences, the liberal arts, and social sciences.

Stafford’s book examines meaning and mental function from this dual experimental perspective. The wide-ranging essays included here—from Frank Echenhofer’s foray into shamanist hallucinogenic visions to David Bashwiner’s analysis of emotion and danceability—develop a common language for implementing programmatic and institutional change. Demonstrating how formerly divided fields are converging around shared issues, A Field Guide to a New Meta-Field maps a high-level, crossdisciplinary adventure from one of our leading figures in visual studies.

368 pages | 80 halftones, 5 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Cognitive Science: Neuroscience

Media Studies

Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind


“Any book that helps demolish the stubbornly ingrained gospel of Cartesian bifurcation is, indeed, welcome. This book is a fairly major contribution to this deconstruction project not only in exposing Cartesian fallacies, but also suggesting positive, practical ways of putting ‘Humpty Dumpty back together again.’ . . . The essays in this book will challenge many ‘hide-bound’ academics’ stale and outmoded paradigms, and certainly make most readers sit up and think very seriously about the future direction of their research.”


Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Barbara Maria Stafford
Crystal and Smoke
Putting Image Back in Mind

Thomas Habinek
Tentacular Mind
Stoicism, Neuroscience, and the Configurations of Physical Reality

Suzanne Küchler
The Extended Mind
An Anthropological Perspective on Mind, Agency and “Smart” Materials

Naoum P. Issa and Ari Rosenberg
Tartini’s Devil
Peripheral Mechanisms That Underlie Sensory Illusions

Philip J. Ethington
Sociovisual Perspective
Vision and the Forms of the Human Past

Frank Echenhofer
Ayahuasca Shamanic Visions
Integrating Neuroscience, Psychotherapy, and Spiritual Perspectives

Anne C. Benvenuti and Elizabeth J. L. Davenport
The New Archaic
A Neurophenomenological Approach to Religious Ways of Knowing

David Michael Bashwiner
Lifting the Foot
The Neural Underpinnings of the “Pathological” Response to Music

Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Alvar Aalto’s Astonishing Rationalism

Nicholas Tresilian
Semantic Reciprocity
Toward a Neuroscience of Cultural Change


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