Prof. Dr. Jens Brockmeier
My research is concerned with the cultural fabric of mind and language. A number of my research projects have revolved around writing and literacy and its psychological, cultural, and philosophical implications. In a similar key, I have examined how language, as a form of life and central dimension of human development, works in specific social and applied settings. In particular, I have been investigating narrative as psychological, linguistic, and cultural form and practice. My main interest here is in the function of narrative for autobiographical memory, personal identity, and the understanding of time and temporality, issues I have explored both empirically and philosophically – empirically, in various languages and sociocultural contexts, as developmental phenomena, and under conditions of health and illness; philosophically, in terms of a narrative hermeneutics.
Brockmeier received his degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics/Literary Theory from the Free University Berlin where he also was awarded his Habilitation and took on his first appointment as Assistant Professor of Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Since then, he has held teaching and research appointments in Psychology, Philosophy, and Language Studies in Austria, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the USA. Since 2014, he has been a Professor in the Psychology Department of The American University of Paris.
I am interested in how language – more specifically, narrative language – provides intellectual conditions for complex ideas of time and temporality. I want to explore this relationship by taking a closer look at the practices and techniques of narrative representation and creation of simultaneity. I believe this is especially instructive in the case of what I call “reflexive simultaneity,” simultaneity that is aware of itself, because it constitutes a specific mode of human temporality that combines synchronic and diachronic experience. My work comprises text and discourse-analytical, narratological, and critical case studies of various types and genres of narrative, ranging along the spectrum from nonfictional to fictional. Drawing on several traditions of philosophical hermeneutics, these studies are part of a larger project investigating the experience and practice of simultaneity as a fundamental feature of human life. They revolve on an idea of simultaneity as a psychological and existential condition that is, however, always realized in historically, culturally, and linguistically specific fashion.
Brockmeier, J. (2015/2018). Beyond the Archive: Memory, Narrative, and the Autobiographical Process. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
Brockmeier, J. (2007). Lifetime and eternity. In J. van Belzen and A. Geels (Eds.), Autobiography and the Psychological Study of Religious Lives (pp. 19-38). Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi.
Brockmeier, J. (2001). From the end to the beginning: Retrospective teleology in autobiography. In J. Brockmeier and D. Carbaugh (Eds.), Narrative and Identity: Studies in Autobiography, Self, and Culture (pp. 246-280). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Brockmeier, J. (2000). Autobiographical time. Narrative Inquiry, 10 (1), 51-73.
Brockmeier, J. (1996). Anthropomorphic operators of time: Chronology, activity, language, and space. In J. T. Fraser and M. P. Soulsby (Eds.), Dimensions of Time and Life: The Study of Time VIII (pp. 239-251). Madison, CT: International Universities Press.
Brockmeier, J. (1995). The language of human temporality: Narrative schemes and cultural meanings of time. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 2, 102-118