About our staff
Dr Miranda Anderson
BA, MSc, PhD, FHEA
Other affiliated schools
Affiliated research centres
Dr Miranda Anderson completed her MSc and PhD in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, after several years travelling and working in Europe and Asia, following on from her BA (Hons) in History at University College London. She was awarded an Early Career Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust in order to pursue work on a book, The Renaissance Extended Mind, which explores parallels (and contrasts) between recent philosophical theories on the embodied and extended mind and analogous ideas in literary, philosophical, and scientific texts circulating between the fifteenth and early-seventeenth century. She is affiliated with the Mind & Cognition group in the Philosophy department at the University of Edinburgh.
Miranda works across the arts and humanities, and on philosophical and critical theories. She has pioneered new approaches to literature, art and culture through drawing on insights from philosophy, cognitive science and the digital humanities. She is fascinated by exploring ideas of the mind and self across a range of disciplinary and historical contexts.
Miranda is currently working on contemporary literature and culture. She was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Art of Distributed Cognition project (£98,886) which involves a collaboration with Talbot Rice Gallery, and the creation of a contemporary art exhibition, The Extended Mind. The exhibition explores an array of ways in which aspects of the world beyond our brain, such as our bodies, objects, language, ideas, other people and environments can, and often do, expand our cognitive capacities.
Miranda initiated and was a Research Fellow on the AHRC-funded project A History of Distributed Cognition (2014-18). The project explored the expression and suppression of the paradigm of distributed cognition from classical antiquity to the mid-twentieth century and she is an editor on the four volumes published by Edinburgh University Press (2018-20).
She is now an Honorary Fellow in History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh and an Anniversary Fellow in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Stirling.
- Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Public Engagement Advisory Group (PEG)
- Elected Member of The Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Alumni Association, Regional Manager for Scotland
She was an associate researcher on the Balzan Project, which was based at St John’s College, Oxford University, and was directed by Prof. Terence Cave. This interdisciplinary project explored the topic of ‘Literature as an Object of Knowledge’ and focused on cognitive approaches to literary studies.
Miranda was the initiator of Palimpsest as a prototype and of the AHRC-funded project on which she then became a Research Fellow. Palimpsest, now renamed LitLong, enables users to access fictional and historical texts set in Edinburgh via an interactive website, a database, or via their mobile while exploring the city.
Her recent publications examine relations between research in philosophy of mind and cognitive science and in the arts and humanities, and considers the ways in which these disciplines can illuminate each other. She is also interested in how the digital humanities can contribute to our reading of literary texts, particulary in terms of assessing the attribution of aesthetic qualities.
Her travel abroad has included several years in Japan, first as a Monbukagakusho research scholar, supported by the Japanese Embassy in London, and later as a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). She previously edited The Book of the Mirror on the history of the mirror as an object and as a motif in literature and art. She published several papers on her research in Japan with Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro, which explore the implications of robotics for understandings of human nature.
Current research activities
• ‘Where is my Mind? Renaissance Extended Minds’, Invited Speaker, Birkbeck Arts Week Panel, London, 2022.
• ‘Early Modern Cognition’, Invited Speaker, Renaissance Society of America, Dublin, 2022.
• Keynote Speaker, Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities 2021 Conference, Stoneybrook University, New York, 2021.
• ‘Early Modern Distributed Cognition’, Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Aberdeen. Guest lecture for staff and students, 2020.
• ‘Where is your Mind?’, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2019
• ‘Mind in Literature: Enacting Aristotle’, Fiction, Cognition & Interpretation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Aristotle’s Poetics, Invited Speaker, University of Navarra, 26-28 October 2017.
• ‘From Mind-forged Manacles to Mind-extending Marvels', ECHIC 2017 Conference: European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres, Scottish Parliament & John McIntyre Conference Centre, 5-7 Apr 2017
'A History of Distributed Cognition', Japan-UK Research Promotion Conference, Embassy of Japan, London, 16 Nov 2016.
'Immersion and Defamiliarisation' (with Stefan Iversen), Cognitive and Unnatural Narratology Workshop, Dept of Culture & Aesthetics, Stockholm University, 4 Nov 2016.
'We-Mode' workshop, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, 23 June 2016.
'Mind in World' Pecha Kucha, AHRC Common Ground event, University of York, 21 June 2016.
'A Pattern Theory of Mind and Self in Love and Literature' (with Shaun Gallagher), Cognitive Futures in the Humanities, University of Helsinki, 13-15 June 2016.
'Shakespeare and the Mind', Invited Speaker, Public Lecture for the Human Mind Project (supported by Senate House's Shakespeare's Metamorphosis series), 18 May 2016.
Miranda initiated and was a co-investigator on the pilot project 'A History of Distributed Cognition' which was based at Eidyn: The Edinburgh Centre for Mind, Epistemology and Normativity. She initiated and was a Research Fellow on the full scale-research project, A History of Distributed Cognition. The project explores the expression and suppression of the paradigm of distributed cognition from classical antiquity to the twentieth century. She is now leading the AHRC-funded Art of Distributed Cognition project (£98,886) which involves a collaboration with Talbot Rice Gallery, and the creation of a contemporary art exhibition, The Extended Mind. The exhibition explores an array of ways in which aspects of the world beyond our brain, such as our bodies, objects, language, ideas, other people and environments can, and often do, expand our cognitive capacities.
In 2018 Miranda was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland and in 2019 she was appointed lead of their Smarter strategic theme. In 2017 she was appointed Regional Director for Scotland of the JSPS Alumni Association and was a participant in Scottish Crucible. She is a collaborator on the Royal Society of Edinburgh funded project: The Cognitive Experience of Verbal and Screen-based Narrative and the Potential Role of the Episodic Memory. Miranda was awarded a Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant for a lecture tour in December 2017 to Kyoto University, Osaka University and the University of Tokyo.'
Knowledge Exchange and Impact
The Extended Mind contemporary art exhibition, which I curated with Talbot Rice Gallery involved working with numeorus community organisations. Along with the History of Distributed Cognition project, whose project parttner was the National Museum of Scotland, this provided an impact case study for REF 2021: Introducing Distributed Cognition to New Audiences (Changing how galleries and museums think about themselves and how people think about them).
'Engaging with an artwork leaves you and the art transformed', AEON Psyche.
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
‘The Mind-Expanding Arts’ (forthcoming), The European Journal for Philosophy of Art in Education.
Distributed cognition in the early modern era’, Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences, Ed. D. Jalobeanu and C. T. Wolfe. Cham: Springer, 2020.
'Distributed cognition in Victorian studies and modernism’, Distributed Cognition in Victorian Culture and Modernism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020. 24–42.
Jajdelska E., M. Anderson, et al. ‘Picture this: A review of research relating to narrative processing by moving image versus language’, Frontiers in Psychology 10 (2019): 1–15.
'Distributed cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic studies’, Distributed Cognition in Enlightenment and Romantic Culture, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019. 27–39.
• 'Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.' Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Culture. Vol. 2, The Edinburgh History of Distributed Cognition Series. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019. 18-43.
• Miranda Anderson and Stefan Iversen. 'Immersion and Defamiliarization: Experiencing Literature and World.' Poetics Today 39.3 (2018): 569-95.
• ‘Shakespeare and the Mind.’ The Routledge Companion to Shakespeare and Philosophy. Ed. C. and E. Bourne. London: Routledge, 2018. 437-53.
• Miranda Anderson, Michael Wheeler and Mark Sprevak. ‘Series Introduction: Distributed Cognition and the Humanities.’ Vols. 1-4, The Edinburgh History of Distributed Cognition Series. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018-2020. 1-17.
• James Loxley, Bea Alex, Miranda Anderson, et al. ‘Multiplicity Embarrasses the Eye: the Digital Mapping of Literary Edinburgh.’ Ed I.Gregory, D. DeBats and D. Lafreniere.The Routledge Handbook of Spatial History. London: Routledge, 2018.
• Bea Alex, Claire Grover, Jon Oberlander, Tara Thomson, Miranda Anderson, et al. ‘Palimpsest: Improving Assisted Curation of Loco-specific Literature.’ The Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 32.1 (2017): 4–16.
• ‘Extending the Renaissance Mind: "Look What Thy Memory Cannot Contain".' The Cognitive Humanities: Embodied Mind in Literature and Culture. Ed. P. Garratt. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 95-112.
• 'Francis Bacon’s Flux of the Spirits and Renaissance Paradigms of Hybridity and Adaptation.’Francis Bacon on Motion and Power. Ed. G. Giglioni, J. Taylor, S. Corneanu, S. and D. Jalobeanu. International Archives of the History of Ideas/ Archives internationales d'histoire des idées series. Vol. 218. Switzerland: Springer, 2016. 133-51.
• Miranda Anderson and James Loxley. ‘The Poetics of Place-Names in Digitised Literary Edinburgh.’ Literary Mapping in the Digital Age. Ed. D. Cooper, C. Donaldson and P. Murieta-Flores. Farnham: Ashgate, 2016. 47-66.
• ‘Fission-Fusion Cognition in Shakespearean Drama: The Case for Julius Caesar.’ Special Issue: Social Minds in Factual and Fictional Narration.’ Narrative 23.2 (2015): 154-68.
• 'Mirroring Mentalities in George Wither’s A Collection of Emblemes.’ Emblematica: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Emblem Studies 20 (2013): 65-81.
• Miranda Anderson, Hiroshi Ishiguro and Tamami Fukushi. ‘“Involving Interface”: An Extended Mind Theoretical Approach to Roboethics.’ Accountability in Research 17.6 (2010): 316-29.
• Preface.The Book of the Mirror: An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays on the Cultural Story of the Mirror. Ed. Miranda Anderson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. vii-x.
• ‘Chaucer and the Subject of the Mirror.’The Book of the Mirror: An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays on the Cultural Story of the Mirror. Ed. Miranda Anderson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 70-79.
• ‘Early Modern Mirrors.’ The Book of the Mirror: An Interdisciplinary Collection of Essays on the Cultural Story of the Mirror. Ed. Miranda Anderson. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 105-120.
Selected Reviews & Online Articles
• Review of Adapted Brains and Imaginary Worlds: Cognitive Science and the Literature of the Renaissance, by Donald Beecher, University of Toronto Quarterly 87.3 (2018).
• ‘Textual Autopoiesis: Extending Minds and Selves.’ London School of Economics and Political Science Review, Materiality of Research Series, 2016.
• ‘Review Article: Shakespeare and Cognitive Literary and Performance Studies.’ Rev. Article of Shakespeare’s Memory Theatre, by Lina Perkins Wilder; Cognition in the Globe, by Evelyn B. Tribble; Shakespearean Neuroplay, by Amy Cook. Journal of the Northern Renaissance 5 (2013): 1-26.
• Rev. of Interface Fantasy: A Lacanian Cyborg Ontology, by André Nusselder. Philosophy in Review 32.5 (2012): 410-412.