Consciousness and the Literary Engagement: Toward a Bio-Cultural Theory of Reading and Learning

Tammy Iftody, Dennis Sumara, Brent Davis


In this paper, we develop the understanding that in context of expanding notions of the literary engagement, consciousness is understood as a process that both participates in the acts of reading and response, and at the same time, is potentially transformed by those acts. Yet, uninterrogated understandings of consciousness – what it is, what it does, what it feels like - continue to shape the way we structure our experiences with literature in the classroom in predominantly implicit ways. In the context of an enactivist understanding of cognition, consciousness emerges as an orienting feature that brings together the cultural and biological aspects of the literary experience.

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