Mark Bracher's teaching and research center on the question of how literary study in particular and humanities education in general can help students become more fulfilled individuals and more productive and socially responsible members of society. More specifically, by employing the methods and findings of social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience, Bracher works to formulate educational and other practices for reducing social injustice, including not only racism, colonialism, sexism, and homophobia but also the growing disparities in wealth and well being within both American society and the world at large. His research investigates, and his teaching attempts to implement, the development of capabilities of perception, judgment, and feeling that are necessary for recognizing these forms of social injustice, understanding their root causes, formulating effective interventions to counter them, and being motivated to ameliorate them. In addition to his teaching and research, he also serves as director of KSU's Neurocognitive Research Program for the Advancement of the Humanities (NRPAH) and as a member of the advisory team for Strategy of Mind, a global executive learning firm.
Literature and Social Justice: Protest Novels, Cognitive Politics, and Schema Criticism. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.
Educating for Cosmopolitanism: Lessons from Cognitive Science and Literature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
Social Symptoms of Identity Needs: Why We Have Failed to Solve Our Social Problems, and What to Do About It. London: Karnac, 2009.
Radical Pedagogy: Identity, Generativity, and Social Transformation. New York: Palgrave, 2006.
The Writing Cure: Psychoanalysis, Composition, and the Aims of Education. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.
Lacan, Discourse, and Social Change: A Psychoanalytic Cultural Criticism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993.
Selected Articles and Chapters
"From Antisocial to Prosocial Manhood: Shakespeare's Rescripting of Masculinity in As You Like It." In Configuring Masculinity in Theory and Literary Practice. Ed. Stefan Horlacher. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2015.
"How to Teach for Social Justice: Lessons from Uncle Tom's Cabin and Cognitive Science." College English 71, 4 (March 2009): 363-388.
"Schema Criticism: Literature, Cognitive Science, and Social Justice." College Literature 39 (Fall 2012): 84-117.
How Literary Study Can Promote Social Justice
How the Humanities Can Develop Key Neurocognitive Capabilities
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, 1981
Literature and Social Cognition, Neurocognitive Development in the Humanities, Protest Novels, Social cognition, humanities education, equality, physical health, victim health, Formulating practices of literary study that work to reduce prejudice, prevent intergroup conflict, enhance recognition of universal human solidarity, and promote global justice by developing cosmopolitan identities and enhancing key capabilities of social cognition