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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. 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 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 and Cognition group in the Philosophy department at the University of Edinburgh.

She was an Associate Researcher on The Balzan Project, based at St John's College, Oxford, and 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 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 was a Nominated Fellow at IASH from March to September 2018.

Miranda 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. She is 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. Along with HDC this project 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).

In 2017 she was appointed Regional Director for Scotland of the JSPS Alumni Association and was a participant in Scottish Crucible. In 2018 Miranda was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland and from 2019-2020 she was appointed as lead of their strategic theme Smarter. She now serves on the Royal Soceity of Edinburgh’s Public Engagement Advisory Group (PEG)


Research Interests

Miranda is currently working on contemporary literature and culture. She combines specialization in Renaissance literary, philosophical, and scientific texts, with a broader interest in investigating paradigms of the human mind and self across disciplinary and historical spans, along with related ethical issues. She edited an interdisciplinary book on the history of the mirror as an object and as an image in art and texts, The Book of the Mirror. She has also published several papers on her research in Japan with Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro; these explore the implications of robotics for understandings of human nature. More generally, 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 inform each other. She is also interested in how the digital humanities can contribute to our reading of literary texts, particularly in terms of assessing the attribution of aesthetic qualities.

Research activity

Miranda was the initiator of Palimpsest as a prototype and of the AHRC-funded project. Palimpsest enables users to access fictional and historical texts set in Edinburgh either via the webpage or via their mobile while exploring the city. The outcome of this project, now renamed Lit Long, can be found here: http://litlong.org/ . The project was awarded runner-up British Library Labs 2015 Award for Research.

Miranda is a collaborator on the Royal Society of Edinburgh funded project: The Cognitive Experience of Verbal versus Screen-based Narrative and the Potential Role of the Episodic Memory System. 

Talk on Shakespeare and the Mind: Shakespeare and the Mind | School of Advanced Study (sas.ac.uk)



• Mind, Subjectivity and Literature

• Critical Practice: Performance

• Dissertation Supervision

• Shakespeare’s Comedies: Identity and Illusion

• Shakespeare: Modes and Genres

• MSc in Design and Digital Media


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