A little while ago I received an invitation to give a lecture in Aachen. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that just recently the Department of English, American, and Romance Studies at the University of Aachen has started The Aachen Research Team Cognitive Literary Studies (ART CogLit). The aim of the group is to

combine qualitative-hermeneutic and empirical approaches to literary studies and intend ARTCogLit to be both inclusive and interdisciplinary.

Their current research project T-REX is as cool as it sounds and investigates textual triggers of experientiality in readers. It is a cutting-edge digital humanities project that stays close to the experience of real readers! I am very curious to learn more about what they are doing and just very glad to see that the empirical literary studies community is expanding in numbers and in methods!

Their very first event is the Aachen Colloquium on Literature, Emotion, and Cognition, and they invited me to be a part of the line-up. And what a line-up it is! I am incredibly proud to be included on this list of terrific speakers – and feel a little disappointed that I am not in the Aachen area to come and listen to the other lectures. Anyway, my presentation is coming up and I just wanted to give anyone who is interested a little sneak peek, and of course blatantly advertise myself and ART CogLit’s wonderful colloquium!

In the summer of 2015 I gave a lecture at the Courant Research Centre at Göttingen University in which I described the difficulties of trying to measure absorption and of conducting empirical research in general. For my lecture in Aachen I will be revisiting this theme, but with a different twist. At the end of my 2015 presentation I gave some suggestions for further research, which I am glad to report I have taken up myself since. In the last few months I started a series of eye tracking experiments in which my colleague Sebastian Wallot and I are trying to find objective online measures of absorption. And I am happy to finally be able to present the first results of the first “eye tracking absorption” study in Aachen. Other than communicating these results, I am looking forward to discussing the general merits and challenges of Empirical Literary Studies with my absorption research of the last couple of years as case study.

For anyone whose interest I peaked, but who is not in the Aachen area, the ART CogLit group is livestreaming my lecture! For more information check out their twitter or webpage. The lecture will take place on Monday June 12th at 16.00. I am excited!

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