Your brain hasn't changed for 50,000 years. Writing has only existed for 5,000 years. What are we to make of that massive gap? In this class students research world literature to understand our species' cognitive design. Studying literature from across the globe together with cognitive neuroscience will explain how universal cognitive capacities actually support local environmental variations in language, script and genre. Students taking this course will be exposed to cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and gain foundational skills that can help with the study of literature and emotion (ENGL 171LE), and storytelling and the brain (ENGL 170SB). This 4-unit course counts toward the Literature and Mind Specialization.