Hannah C Wojciehowski
Professor — Ph.D., 1984, Yale University
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: 512-471-8768
- Office: PAR 230
- Office Hours: Fall 2012 TTh 2:00 -3:30 and by appt.
- Campus Mail Code: B5000
I am an early modernist and literary theorist who specializes in the history of subjectivity. I completed my Ph.D. at my Ph.D. at Yale University in the interdisciplinary field of Renaissance Studies (1984). I am currently Professor of English at the University of Texas and an Affiliate of the Program in Comparative Literature.
My research interests are multiple. My 2011 book Group Identity in the Renaissance World explores the history of what I call ‘group subjectivity.” Drawing on the psychoanalytic theories of Freud and Anzieu, and the social network theory of Georg Simmel, this book analyzes the unconscious dynamics of group identity formation in a global context, offering a new paradigm for the study of pre-modernity. This study of collective fantasies as the organizing ‘containers’ of groups has applications for other historical periods, as well.
Currently I am working in the emergent field of neurocriticism, studying the phenomena of consciousness, memory, emotion, and cognition as they apply to literature and culture. This interdisciplinary field holds great promise for advancing our shared understanding of the human mind and our social world, and the nature of creativity. In 2010-2011, I collaborated with Italian neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese, one of the discoverers of Mirror Neurons in primate brains, to develop a theory of embodied simulation in literary narratives. My interview with Gallese and our article “How Stories Make Us Feel” was published in California Italian Studies in 2011, and is available online, as well as this website. We are currently collaborating on a longer study of embodied simulation.
I have recently edited Shakespeare’s Cymbeline for the New Kittredge Shakespeare Series, which will be published in 2013 by Focus Pullins. This edition of the play includes performance notes—one of the special features of the series--and relies on film and stage productions of Cymbeline to introduce the reader to one of Shakespeare’s most engaging romances.
My other research interests include the history of gender and sexuality, early modern women’s writing, Tudor and Jacobean theater, travel narratives and 16th-century colonialism, the impact of science and technology on literature, and vice versa, the history and practice of literary criticism and theory, and the writings of French philosopher Michel Foucault.
Image credit: Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Landschap met val van Icarus (1558), Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Belgium. Public domain image from wikicommons.
- President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award (2011)
- Faculty Fellow, Humanities Institute, University of Texas (2009)
- University Research Institute Faculty Research Award (2008)
- Raymond Dickson Centennial Endowed Teaching Fellowship (2007-2008)
- Dads Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship (2004-2005)
- Rockefeller Resident Fellowship, Institute for the Study of Violence, Survival, and Culture, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (2002)
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Huntington Library (2001)
- K. Garth Huston and Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library (2000)
- Pforzheimer Fellowship, Humanities Research Center, University of Texas (1999)
Affiliated Research/Academic Unit:
Center for Women's and Gender Studies
South Asia Institute
The Global Renaissance
The Foucault Project
How Stories Make Us Feel
Currently I am working in the emergent field of Cognitive-Affective Cultural Studies, applying new discoveries in social-cognitive neuroscience to literary narratology, theatrical performance and aesthetics. This interdisciplinary field holds great promise for advancing our shared understanding of the human mind and our social world, as well as the nature of creativity.
In 2010-2011, I collaborated with Italian neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese, one of the discoverers of Mirror Neurons in primate brains, to develop a theory of embodied simulation in literary narratives. My interview with Gallese and our article “How Stories Make Us Feel” was published in California Italian Studies in 2011, and is available online, as well as this website. We are currently collaborating on a longer study of embodied simulation.
My essay "Statues That Move: Vitality Effects in The Winter's Tale" explores the transferred experience of vitality in Act V, Scene II, of Shakespeare's late romance, which arcs alteroceptively from the movements and gestures of the players on stage to the felt experiences of viewers in the audience. This essay, together with a response by cognitive cultural historian Ellen Spolsky, will appear in a special issue of Literature and Theology early in 2014.
HCW with "Virgil's Brain." Photo and wetware provided by Dr. Harvey Sussman, Department of Linguistics.
Course Offerings in this area:
Graduate students interesting in learning more about Cognitive-Affective Cultural Studies (also known as Cognitive Cultural Studies or Neurocriticism) are invited to take my graduate seminar E392m, "How Stories Make Us Feel," which will be offered in Spring 2014. Do new theories of embodied cognition deepen our understanding of the writing and reading of literary works? Read what cutting edge literary critics, phiosophers, and scientists have to say about these questions, then decide for yourselves.
Plan II juniors are invited to join my Plan II TC 357, "The Snow Bridge," which focuses on the potential gains, as well as risks, of interdisciplinary studies in the humanities and sciences. The title riffs on C.P. Snow's book The Two Cultures. This course will be offered in Spring 2014 and again in Spring 2015.
Lower-division students are invited to take my introductory UGS302 course, "Film, Fiction, and Narrative Empathy," which introduces students to new discoveries in the neuroscience of empathy and applies some of those findings to the analysis of great works of literature and cinema. This course satisfies the University's USG requirement. This course will be offered in Spring 2015.
Edition of Shakespeare's Cymbeline. The New Kittredge Shakespeare. Series Editor James H. Lake. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, 2014.
How Stories Make Us Feel: Toward an Embodied Narratology
Journal Issue: California Italian Studies, 2(1)
Author: Wojciehowski, Hannah, University of Texas, Austin
Gallese, Vittorio, University of Parma, Italy
Publication Date: 2011
California Italian Studies, Italian Studies Multicampus Research Group, UC Office of the President
"The Mirror Neuron Mechanism and Literary Studies: An Interview with Vittorio Gallese," California Italian Studies 2, No. 1 (2010).
Mirror Neurons, Mirror Neuron Mechanism, neurocriticism, Vittorio Gallese, neuroscience
Group Identity in the Renaissance World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
“Assessing Empathy: A Slumdog Questionnaire,” Image [&] Narrative 11, No. 2 (2010): 123-145.
“Triangulation in Humanist Friendship: More, Erasmus, Giles, and the Making of Utopia,” Discourses and Representations of Friendship in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700, ed. Daniel T. Lochman, Maritere Lopez, and Lorna Hutson. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2011. 45-63.
“O Dente do Bugio: Relics, Religion and Rivalry in 16th-Century Ceylon and Goa.”
Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies IX (2007): 234-253.
“The Queen of Onor and Her Emissaries: Fernão Mendes Pinto’s Dialogue with India,” Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Culture—Mediation, Tranmission, Traffic: 1550-1700, ed. Brinda S. Charry and Gitanjali Shahani. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate, 2009. 167-191.
“Literary Theory,” Encyclopedia of British Literature, ed. David Scott Kastan. 5 vols. Vol. 3. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 301-313.
“Sex, Death, and Poetry in Cinquecento Venice: Veronica Franco vs. Maffio Venier.” Italica 83, Nos. 3 and 4 (2006): 367-390.
“Francis Petrarch: First Modern Friend,” Texas Studies in Language and
Literature 47, No. 4 (Winter 2005): 269-298.
“St. Augustine.” The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Criticism and Theory. Eds. Michael Groden and Martin Kreiswirth. 2nd ed. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994, 2005. 57-58.
Birth Passages: Maternity and Nostalgia, Antiquity to Shakespeare. By Theresa M. Krier. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001. Xvii+266 pp. Modern Philology 102, No. 3 (Feb. 2005): 410-413.
“Religion, Rivalry, and Relics in 16th-Century Goa: The Destruction and Return of the Dalada.” Manushi. New Delhi, India. June, 2004.
Wojciehowski.H.C. (2001) Print, Manuscript, Performance: The Changing Relations of the Media in Early Modern England. Libraries and Culture Libraries and Culture
Old Masters, New Subjects: Early Modern and Poststructuralist Theories of Will (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995).