The ELIT project

The Empirical Study of Literature Innovative Training Network (ELIT) is an EU network whose mission is to provide a Joint/Double Doctorate level training programme, valid throughout all Europe, on innovative approaches applied to literary reading in the digital age. This interdisciplinary programme will train future research leaders with the capability to address the needs of improving literacy rates and mental wellbeing in European society.

ELIT’s main aim is to consider and integrate methods and instruments of different sciences and scholarships bridging the gap between the humanities and the cognitive sciences. Communication between the two has so far been mostly unidirectional: from the cognitive sciences to the humanities. We believe that through the field of Empirical Studies of Literature the humanities can produce its specific knowledge on the cognitive operations involved in, and the impacts of, literary reading.

The integration of two research cultures that are commonly separated, namely the experimental cognitive sciences and the humanities, will lead to a research-based understanding of the underlying processes related to the societal benefits of literary reading, in order to develop targeted interventions. It will prepare ESRs to face current and future challenges in the field of empirical literary studies, which is in constant flux due to the influence of rapidly changing empirical research techniques (e.g., eye tracking), and contextual demands (e.g., digitization). Close collaboration with several non-academic partners (e.g., literacy associations; educational policymakers; publishing houses) will ensure that the benefits of literary reading at individual and societal levels are made available to a wide range of stakeholders as well as to citizens at large.