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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Hannah C Wojciehowski

Professor Ph.D., 1984, Yale University

Hannah C Wojciehowski


  • Phone: 512 471 8768
  • Office: PAR 230
  • Office Hours: Fall 2014: TTh 2:00-3:30 and by appointment
  • 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 Yale University in the interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies Program (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.  Click on the "Global Renaissance Studies" tab to learn more about this research, and about the amazing resources available for such study available at the University of Texas.  

This study of collective fantasies as the organizing ‘containers’ of groups has applications for other historical periods, as well, including the recent past.  My current research on the life and writings of Michel Foucault during the late Sixties, and on his highly influential theories of power, brings the study of groups from the early modern world to the post-modern. 

New information about the nature of the human mind and about individual and collective identity is being generated at a rapid pace by the sciences, including cognitive and social neuroscience.  A growing number of scholars in the humanities are drawing on this new research in order to rethink the theoretical models for subjectivity and intersubjectivity that held sway during the twentieith century--for example, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, structuralism and post-structuralism.  The emergent field of Cognitive-Affective Cultural Studies holds great promise for advancing our shared understanding of the human mind and our social world, and the nature of creativity.

My other research interests include the history of gender and sexuality, early modern women’s writing, Tudor and Jacobean theater, travel narratives and sixteenth-century colonialism, the impact of science and technology on literature, and vice versa, and the history and practice of literary criticism and theory.

I have recently edited Shakespeare’s Cymbeline for the New Kittredge Shakespeare Series, which will be published in 2014 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.

Awards (selected):

  • Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award finalist (2014)
  • University Research Institute Faculty Research Award (2013)
  • University of Texas Humanities Research Award (2013-2015)
  • 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 European Studies

Center for Women's and Gender Studies 

South Asia Institute

T C 357 • Snow Bridge: Humans & Neurosci

43785 • Spring 2014
Meets MW 300pm-430pm CAL 200
show description


In his 1959 book The Two Cultures, C. P. Snow argued that the sciences and the humanities were divided by a deep schism, resulting in the erosion of collective intellectual life.  Today the question of this cultural divide and its implications for the future remain as pressing as ever.  Many branches of the sciences experience breakthroughs at an exponential rate and have a massive impact on every aspect of knowledge production.  Meanwhile humanists struggle to keep pace with these changes, to advance a set of approaches to culture that remain valuable, and to continue asking vexing questions about human experience and identity, aesthetic perception, social justice and the meanings of rapid change—questions that scientific culture is not necessarily poised to answer. 

The purpose of this course is to analyze certain ongoing conversations between various fields of the arts and humanities—e.g., literature, history, art history and music—and the sciences of mind—especially cognitive neuroscience and psychology.  The result is a snow bridge—a metaphor for a bridge built in winter that is useful for traversing a slippery landscape on which it is otherwise difficult to gain a foothold.  This metaphor highlights the difficulty of crossing between the two cultures, as well as the risks of writing at a moment of extraordinarily rapid change. 

The goal of the course is to encourage creative thinking across disciplines and to understand the ways in which interdisciplinary thinking can give us purchase on one or more disciplines or fail to do so in various ways.  Students in this course will read a selection of texts that will introduce them to current debates regarding empathy, theory of mind, and the nature of consciousness. 



(note: list subject to revision; some books will be excerpted):

C. P. Snow, The Two Cultures

M. Proust, Swann’s Way

V. Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

M. Haddon, A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

M. Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist

M. Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception

A. Damasio, Descartes’ Error

G. Lakoff and M. Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh

G. Rizzolatti, Mirrors in the Brain

J. Decety and W. Ickes, ed., The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

B. Vermeule, Why Do We Care About Literary Characters?

S. Keen, Empathy and the Novel


Packet of readings including these articles: 

G. Rizzolatti and M. Arbib, “Language Within Our Grasp”

Umiltà et al., “I Know What You Are Doing: A Neurophysiological Study”

V. Gallese, “The Roots of Empathy: The Shared Manifold Hypothesis and the Neural Basis of Intersujectivity”

Singer, et al., “Empathy for Pain Involves the Affective but not Sensory Components of Pain”

Mukamel, et al., “Single-Neuron Responses in Humans During Execution and Observation of Actions”

Uddin et al., “The Self and Social Cognition: The Role of Cortical Midline Structures and Mirror Neurons”

D. Amodio and C. Frith, “Meeting of Minds: The Medial Frontal Cortex and Social Cognition”

J. Mitchell et al., “Dissociable Medial Prefrontal Contributions to Judgments of Similar and Dissimilar Others”

Sobhani, et al., “Interpersonal Liking Modulates Motor-Related Neural Regions”



Four written exercises, 2-4 pages each:  10%

Research paper (10-20 pages): 40%

Oral report on research: 10%

Class participation: 10%


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

Publication Info:

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).

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