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.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Venue: Department of English, UniCampus, Hof 8

Organisers: Margarete Rubik, Christa Knellwolf King, Susanne Reichl


Abstracts are requested for presentations of approx. 15 minutes on any aspect of cultural crossing that features in Anglophone literatures and cultures. The aim of the conference is to discuss different ways of crossing boundaries and mastering transitions. We welcome papers on cross-cultural topics and historical transformations, interdisciplinary and intermedial crossovers, transgressions of dominant discourses and hierarchies of power.

Deadline for the submission of the abstract: 15 April 2015

Please send an abstract of approximately 200 words to:

No registration fees. Everybody welcome.

“New Directions in Cultural Studies”

Venue: “Besprechungsraum”, 2nd floor of Dept. of English, UniCampus, Hof 8

Thursdays, starting at 16.15 -

Organiser: Christa Knellwolf King

Next meeting: 26 March 2015

A focus of the discussions of the Staff-and-Students Seminar is on the development and application of cognitive methodologies to the interpretative practice in literary and cultural studies. The discussions will investigate existing and new crossovers between research in the neurosciences and the humanities. They offer opportunities to discuss recent publications but there will also be space for postgraduate students to present work-in-progress.

Everybody welcome!

Please let me know if you would like to participate:


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: