Lambros Malafouris will give a Brown Bag Lunch Presentation on Wednesday, March 20, at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “Handmade: A Material Engagement Perspective.”

Human beings have always relied on the skills of the hand for exploring their creative potential. The process of making by hand lies at the intersection between embodied cognition and material culture—linking the plasticity of the brain to the incredible variety of bodily techniques, materials, and forms of material culture. Still, the full creative dimensions of this process as well as the changing relationship of the human hand with past and present material culture are not well understood and require cross-disciplinary research. New embodied, extended, distributed, and enactive perspectives in the cognitive sciences are changing the way we understand the complexity of the active mind and offer alternative ways to conceptualize the dialogue between maker and material. In this talk Malafouris will focus on one specific material with long archaeological history and cross-cultural significance, i.e., clay and the craft of ceramics. The morphogenetic potential and plasticity of clay offers a unique kinaesthetic resource for studying the creative ecology of handmaking and exploring questions about skill, memory, distributed intelligence, material agency, tradition, and innovation.

Lambros Malafouris PhD (Cambridge) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology and Keble College, University of Oxford. He was a Balzan Research Fellow in Cognitive Archaeology at the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge (2005-2008). His primary research interests lie in the archaeology of mind and the philosophy of material culture. His research expertise is at the intersection between cognitive anthropology, archaeology, philosophy of mind, and neuroscience. Dr Malafouris’ publications include How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement (MIT Press, 2013); The Cognitive Life of Things: Recasting the Boundaries of the Mind (McDonald Institute Monographs, 2010, eds. with C. Renfrew); Material Agency: Towards a Non- Anthropocentric Approach (Springer, 2018, eds. with C. Knappett); and “The sapient mind: archaeology meets neuroscience,” a theme issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Volume 363, 2008, eds. with C. Renfrew and C. Frith). Dr. Malafouris is directing the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant, HANDMADE (No 771997 European Union Horizon 2020).