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Professor Coseru Awarded Prestigious NEH Summer Institute Grant

Posted by: Kate Kenney-Newhard | September 5, 2011 | No Comment |

College of Charleston Associate Professor of Philosophy Christian Coseru is one of just nine professors nationwide to be awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute grant. Coseru will stage an institute on “Investigating Consciousness: Buddhist and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives” on campus in Summer 2012.

The two-week NEH Summer Institute “Investigating Consciousness: Buddhist and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives” will bring together 18 college and university-level instructors, and two advanced graduate students with the aim of expanding their knowledge of the complex and rapidly evolving discourse: the convergence of analytic, phenomenological, and Buddhist perspectives in the investigation of consciousness. Professors Jay Garfield of Smith College and Evan Thompson of the University of Toronto will co-direct the institute, which will also involve contributions by 14 distinguished faculty from major universities in the United States, Europe, and Australia.


“This is an incredible opportunity to explore consciousness with some of the top international scholars in the field,” says Coseru. “The explosion of interest in and rigorous study of consciousness in contemporary philosophy, psychology and cognitive neuroscience is relatively recent, and follows an extensive tradition of phenomenology in philosophy and psychology beginning around the turn of the 20th Century in Europe. Like their Western counterparts, Buddhist philosophers have also engaged central topics in the study of consciousness and have produced impressive results. This NEH Institute is designed to enable interested participants to draw these three often parallel research programs together for mutual benefit.”

The chief intellectual objective of the Institute is to provide a forum for an intensive exploration of six core issues in the philosophical study of consciousness: (1) the nature and function of phenomenal consciousness (the nature of immediate conscious experience); (2) the relation between consciousness and intentionality; (3) the nature of the contents of consciousness; (4) the character and types of consciousness; (5) the interplay between the biological, psychological, social and linguistic dimensions of conscious experience; (6) the methodology of cross-cultural investigation into subjects such as consciousness.

“This award honors the outstanding interdisciplinary focus of this multi-institutional collaborative effort aimed at advancing our understanding of how consciousness, and its many facets, frame our perception, engagement in and understanding of our world,” says George Hynd, College of Charleston provost. “Professor Coseru and his colleagues have assembled a distinguished international faculty who will participate in this highly prestigious NEH sponsored Summer Institute. As a nationally prominent liberal arts and sciences university, the College of Charleston is the ideal location to host this important gathering. We acknowledge with pride Professor Coseru intellectual leadership and congratulate all of the collaborators who received this highly competitive award.”

Other recipients of the NEH Summer Institute grant are the Community College Humanities Association, New York University, City University of New York and the Universities of Virginia, Arizona, California-Santa Cruz, and North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The National Endowment for Humanities was created in 1965 as an independent federal agency to support research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

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