Cognitive Critical and Cultural Theory is a program of research at the University of Vienna initiated by Christa Knellwolf King. It responds to the need to rethink the premises of critical and cultural theory which have been challenged by neuroscientific definitions of identity and consciousness.  

Cognitive research in the humanities has dramatically challenged the premises of 20th-century critical and cultural theory. Neuroscientific research of the 1990s re-defined the emotions as essentially rational means of evaluating experience and recent cognitive studies are redefining the nature of social exchanges. These developments have profoung implications on our understanding of literature, art and culture.

Cognitive Studies of Culture

An International Conference at the Unviersity of Vienna,

9-10 June 2014

For Registration and further information, go to

"Cognitive Studies of Culture" 2014

Emotion and the Formation of Imperial Mentalities

A project supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF Project M1290-G20), awarded to Christa Knellwolf King (Oct. 2011 – Sept. 2013)

The main aim is to develop a cognitive methodology that can explain the individual steps by which imperial ideology addressed and persuaded its audiences of its cogency, using as a case study the voyaging accounts published during the main age of naval exploration (c. 1770-1820).

Research Group “Cognitive Science in the Humanities”, a section of the Cognitive Science Research Platform at the University of Vienna

Please contact our research group, if you would like to receive information and participate in the exchange of ideas.

Further information on this research group and the LabVisit “Cognitive Science in the Humanties” organised on 7 June 2013 “ can be found at:

Email contact:

Cognitive Critical and Cultural Theory is an intellectual forum, affiliated to the Cognitive Science Research Platform at the University of Vienna, which is in the process of establishing itself. It includes experienced researchers, PhD students and early careers researchers.

Prospective PhD students wishing to research innovative questions about the cognitive processes influencing the formation of literature and culture will receive practical support and advice.

Christa Knellwolf King is Guest Professor at the University of Vienna and an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland. She has published two monographs on early modern literature: Representations of the Feminine in the Poetry of Alexander Pope (Manchester UP, 1998) and Faustus and the Promises of the New Science: (Ashgate, 2008), as well as several collections of essays, including The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 9 (CUP, 2001), The Enlightenment World (Routledge 2004), Frankenstein's Science (Ashgate, 2009) and Stories of Empire (wvt, 2009). Currently she is writing up the results of her FWF project “Emotion and the Foundation of Imperial Mentalities” (see above) in the form of a book.


Email: christa.knellwolf (at)

Tel: 01-427742405

Further members of the team in the Institute for English and American Studies, University of Vienna:

  • Prof. Dr. Margarete Rubik
  • Dr. Caterina Grasl (postdoctoral scholar)
  • Michela Borzaga (advanced PhD scholar)

Watch this space...

University of Vienna:

Profile of Christa Knellwolf King as Honorary Professor at University of Queensland:

Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts:

AHRC Network Cognitive Futures in the Humanities: