I and We: Literary Texts and the Constitution of Shared Identities

This conference draws together scholars from philosophy, phenomenology, literature, classics, cognitive and neuroscience to debate forms of individual and shared identity, private and collective self-understanding and group affiliation. Contributors will be asking how, in what ways, and to what effect may an 'I' become a 'we', or a ‘we’ conceive of its various ‘Is’. The hope is to create productive interchange among disciplines that often overlap and yet are also often at cross purposes.  

The event is supported by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, the John Fell Fund, and the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Programme (OCCT). 

The conference will take place online. All talks are open to the public. All times are CET.


10 June

10:00-10:15 Welcome by Felix Budelmann (Oxford) and Dan Zahavi (Copenhagen/Oxford)

10:15-11:00 Jonathan Cole (Bournemouth) "Beginnings of Morality; exploring the unimaginable in neurology and beyond."

11:00-11:15 Coffee break

11:15-12:00 Ben Morgan (Oxford) "Literature and Plurality in Hannah Arendt.”

12:00-12:15 Coffee break

12:15-13:00 Meindert Peters (Oxford) "One Must Know How to Dance’: Someplace Between Me and Us in Vicki Baum’s Menschen im Hotel (1929)."

13:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00-14:45 Mike Wheeler (Stirling) "'Everyman’s an Angel’: Literature, Authenticity and Social Cognition"

14:45-15:00 Coffee break

15:00-16:15 Roundtable (for speakers only)

11 June

10:00-10:45 Christian Benne (Copenhagen) "The fifth wall. The philosophical problem of I and We in Beckett’s Fin de Parti/Endgame."

10:45-11:00 Coffee break

11.00-11:45 Vittorio Gallese (Parma) "The text as a body. Embodied simulation and the relation with fiction."

11:45-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-12:45 Naomi Rokotnitz (Oxford) "Dissociation, Multiple Personalities, and the Agency of Integration: How I & We Collaborate in the Construction of Selves."  

12:45-13:45 Lunch break

13:45-14:30 Jennifer McWeeny (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) "Inseparability and Communion: Figures of We-Experience in Beauvoir’s Fiction."

14:30-14:45 coffee break

14:45-16:00 Roundtable (for speakers only)