Racha Kirakosian is Professor of Medieval German at the University of Freiburg. She previously held positions at Harvard University and the University of Oxford. Her breakthrough project combines medieval history with neurosciences, especially neuropsychology in the field of mental imagery. The ability to see images in front of the “inner eye” was much discussed during the Middle Ages, in literature as well as scholastic writings. Mental images as they supposedly appeared in visions, daydreams, and dreams during sleeping played an important role for epistemological processes, religious experiences, and artistic endeavours; they were said to assist in finding truth and representing it. Despite their significance for the historical understanding of the human mind, medieval concepts of envisioning and mental seeing remain unexplored outside Medieval Studies. Could recent insights from neuroscience help to newly assess medieval sources? Could, in turn, medieval ideas inspire innovative approaches in neuropsychology? In order to address these questions and initiate a dialogue between medievalists and neuroscientists, Professor Kirakosian aims to break the wall towards Neuromedievalism. In this truly interdisciplinary exchange, the fascination for the human brain and for how it creates images in front of the mind’s eye unites medievalists and neuroscientists.
Racha Kirakosian is Professor of Medieval German at the University of Freiburg. She previously held posts at Harvard University and the University of Oxford. A scholar of historical text, medieval spirituality, and history of Christianity, she is the author of Die Vita der Christina von Hane (2017), The Life of Christina of Hane (2020), and From the Material to the Mystical in Late Medieval Piety (2021).