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"Marks of Spectres: Mind, Morality, and Religion in Cultural Discourse"


"My project will expedite my entry into a position of professional maturity by allowing me to engage in a sustained programme of research, training and dissemination activities at the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (ICEA), University of Oxford, UK.

In the first instance, I will embark on a research programme that uses methods developed in cognitivist approaches to religion to analyse a recurrent topic in literary, intellectual and political discourses––the use of supernatural rhetoric to frame the articulation of moral norms. I will show how all of these ostensibly secular discourses articulate, in coded form, the same innate intuitions that link supernatural agency with the enforcement of moral imperatives in religious discourses. I will pursue this agenda by way of four case studies, which will focus on Indo-European narrative, nineteenth-century fiction, psychoanalytic discourse and European political rhetoric.

In addition to my research agenda, I will engage in a series of training activities in my host university. Under the guidance of the scientist-in-charge, Professor Robin Dunbar (Director, ICEA), I will engage in programme of directed reading and research in cognitive anthropology. Supporting this, I will attend graduate courses in cognitive and social-scientific methodologies offered by the ICEA. Also, I will undertake training in developmental psychology and sociology by way of graduate seminars in the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Sociology. Finally, I shall receive complementary skills training in research management from the Oxford Insitute for Learning

My project's knowledge deliverables will come in four forms: a monograph in the Macmillan series 'Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance,' three journal articles (Journal of Indo-European Studies, PMLA, Political Communication), several conference papers, and a major international conference to take place at my host."

Call for proposal

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Wellington square university offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Oxfordshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Gill Wells (Ms.)
EU contribution
€ 278 807,40