Aachen Research Team Cognitive Literary Studies (ART CogLit)
The newly formed Aachen Research Team Cognitive Literary Studies (ART CogLit) is part of recent developments within the group of English and American Literature at the Department of English, American and Romance Studies (IfAAR) at RWTH Aachen, aiming to promote research in the area of Cognitive Literary Studies. Since strengthening this new research focus only recently by the appointment of Jan Alber as professor of Cognitive Literary Studies, we would now like to take another step towards pooling and coordinating our research activities in this field.
Within the framework of a cognitive perspective on literary reception processes, it will be part of ART CogLit’s activities to conduct empirical investigations of the observed reactions of real readers in order to test and extend hypotheses on ideal reading processes and reader responses developed in literary theory. Thus, we aim at combining qualitative-hermeneutic and empirical approaches to literary studies and intend ARTCogLit to be both inclusive and interdisciplinary. For this reason, the members of our research team, initially including Prof. Dr. Jan Alber, Judith Eckenhoff, M.A., Dipl.-Gyml. Caroline Kutsch, Aljoscha Merk, M.A., PD Dr. Sven Strasen, Kai Tan, M.A., Dipl.-Gyml. Julia Vaeßen, Dr. Rebekah Wegener and Prof. Dr. Peter Wenzel, seek to deepen intradepartmental cooperation between researchers in the fields of English literature, linguistics and foreign language teaching as well as collaboration between the IfAAR and other divisions and departments of RWTH.
ART CogLit’s current research project, the interdisciplinary T-REX-project (Triggers of Reader Emotion and Experientiality), is already based on a collaboration between ART CogLit and the RWTH Institute of Information Management in Mechanical Engineering (IMA/ZLW & IfU): By combining methods from hermeneutic theories of reception and digital approaches to the analysis of large amounts of complex, multi-modal data we hope to enhance our understanding of the interaction between readers and texts in literary reading processes. With regard to the relationship between the concept of experientiality and readers’ affective responses to texts, which still needs to be clarified, the project will then enable us to describe and automatically predict how literary texts may evoke the impression in readers that they know or even experience during the reading process what it is like for literary characters to undergo specific experiences. Thus, the T-REX-Project should provide innovative methodological impulses for researchers in the fields of both literary studies and affective computing.
Starting with the Aachen Colloquium on Literature, Emotion and Cognition this summer term, ART CogLit will also focus on the organization of research colloquia and public lectures. The Aachen Colloquium on Literature, Emotion and Cognition will be set up as an international lecture series, in which many notable exponents of Cognitive Literary Studies present their research work and thus invite everyone with an interest in Cognitive Poetics to discuss some of the recent developments in this still young and dynamic field.
ART CogLit Photo Gallery
from left to right: Julia Vaeßen, Rebekah Wegener, Jan Alber, Peter Wenzel, Sven Strasen, Caroline Kutsch, Aljoscha Merk, Kai Tan (Judith Eckenhoff, not pictured)