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Premodern Neurodiversity workshop

May 15, 2023 @ 2:00 PM - 4:15 PM UTC+0

Premodern Neurodiversity workshop

(Monday 15th May 2023, 2–4:15 pm, Margaret Rooms 2 and 3, Queen’s Building, University of Exeter)

Neurodiversity describes how many people think and experience the world in ways that are different from the perceived norm (e.g. through neurodivergent conditions such as autism, ADHD or OCD). This workshop will explore how neurodivergence can be perceived in the history and writing of the medieval and early modern period (approximately the period 500 to 1800) through the insights of psychologists, historians and literary scholars, and how these instances of premodern neurodiversity can help us understand neurodiversity today in ways that can benefit neurodivergent people and those who support them.

This event will feature presentations on medieval and early modern neurodiversity in history and literature as well as group engagement with pre-circulated texts from the medieval and early modern periods suggestive of neurodiversity, both in relation to their historical context and in relation to participants’ own experience of neurodiversity. This is an inclusive event that will accommodate a variety of modes of engagement including verbal discussion, online written comments prior to or during the session, and individual silent reflection. A quiet room will be made available for individuals next door in Margaret Room 1. An afternoon tea will be provided for all participants in the break between the two halves of the workshop.

Our keynote speakers, Dr Laura Seymour and Dr George Manning of the University of Oxford, are pioneers of engagement with neurodiversity in premodern studies. Laura has written on neurodiversity in Shakespeare and in early modern religious writing, and George is leading the ‘Neuronorse’ project on neurodivergence in Old Norse literature. There will also be some Exeter-based presenters offering brief reflections from various disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

This event will be of interest to students and staff who experience neurodivergence and who support neurodivergent individuals as well as to those with research interests in neurodiversity past or present or related fields such as the histories of emotion and cognition.

Attendance is free – pre-registration required for catering purposes and to pre-circulate materials to attendees.


university of exeter