Dreams & Dreaming: Disciplinary Perspectives & Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Event Date: 25 January 2013

Room G16
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet St Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Dreams & Dreaming: Disciplinary Perspectives & Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Studying the phenomenon of dreaming can reveal deep and surprising truths about human experience, consciousness, and memory. Academics from disciplines as diverse as psychology, cognitive neuroscience, cultural studies, philosophy, psychoanalytic studies, anthropology and history can agree with this: but what are the ‘truths’ that these various disciplines have discovered and are they compatible with one another?

When researchers and practitioners in one subject area work largely in isolation from those in others this raises the possibilities that: (a) there are insights and bodies of knowledge in one subject-area that are unknown in subject areas in which they are of direct relevance to live research questions; (b) the assumptions about dreaming that underpin the research methodologies in different subject-areas are different, perhaps even inconsistent.

•  Is the philosopher’s claim that dream experience can be indistinguishable from waking experience consistent with the findings of cognitive neuroscience?
•  What assumptions about the cultural phenomenon of dream reporting do practitioners of the psychoanalytic method make?
•  Is the history of dreaming consistent with the idea that the concept identifies a single subject matter suitable for scientific study?
•  Should the findings of the humanities be constrained by medical practice or scientific understanding, or can they be used to critique them?
•  Does the study of dreaming require an empirical, conceptual, medical, historical, or cultural stance?

This workshop will bring together experts on dreaming to present dream research from the perspective of their discipline. It will be an opportunity for those with other disciplinary perspectives to learn from, to challenge, and to explore alternative ways of understanding dreams. It will also be an opportunity for researchers to reflect collectively on the relationship between the ‘folk psychological understanding’ of dreaming and the understanding encoded in their own and others’ disciplinary approaches. The hope is that participants will form a network of experts opening up potential for future collaborative research and projects.

Read the Workshop Blog here

Programme:

Introduction by  Dr Laura Salisbury (English, Birkbeck).

Dr Laurence Spurling (Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck) – Dream in Analytic Practice

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Josh Cunliffe (Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck) – Censorship and the Self: Re-thinking the Dream-work

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Professor Jim Hopkins (Psychoanalysis Unit, UCL) – Memory, Homeostasis, and the Meaning of Dreams

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Professor Charles Stewart (Anthropology, UCL) – Dreaming and Historical Consciousness

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Dr Angus Gowland (History, UCL) – Hobbes on Dreams

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Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska (Psychoanalysis & Film Studies, Birkbeck & University Of Bedfordshire) – Inception — A psychoanalytically informed text?

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Dr Robin Carhart-Harris (Neuroscience, Imperial College) – Dreamlike states: their relevance to our understanding of the psychology and neurobiology of dreaming

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Dr Hugo Spiers (Neuroscience, UCL) – The dream life of rats

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