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Material Structures for Abstract Thought: A Primer on Embodied Cognition

When: March 9th, 3:00-5:00pm

Where: City Region Studies Centre, 2-184 Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Ave

What: Greg Whistance-Smith (Designer (M.Arch) and Graduate student in Humanities Computing will present embodied cognition as an emerging paradigm in the social sciences and humanities, unpacking three of its significant claims: (1) the structures of bodily experience play a key role in concept and category formation; (2) cognitive metaphor allows humans to use the logic(s) of concrete situations to reason about affective and abstract ones; and (3) human thought processes extend beyond the brain (and body) and into tools and technologies themselves. This paradigm provides scholars with new tools for analyzing how individuals experience—and construct—spaces and cultures, adding new dimensions to work on human-material relations. I will conclude with some examples of scholars using this paradigm to fruitfully read the built environment and the practices that produce it.