“I’m Not a Bigot, It’s Just Science”

You have probably already heard of Grace Pokela’s pointed facebook post that dismantles the “science” of transphobia. But just in case you haven’t—and chances are you haven’t, because I myself only learned about it through my brother—you should totally check it out.

It’s important to remind ourselves that “science” can be used quite easily to essentialize socio-economic injustice and culturally specific stereotypes. But it’s not only the misrepresentation of scientific “facts” that is the problem (e.g., denying that there’s more than XX and XY). Sometimes it is the bare attempt of scientifically classifying individuals that is already problematic. Typing humans secures the basis for discrimination, regardless of how fine-grained the categories are. Continue reading

Digital Scholarship on Marriage and Depression

Yesterday was the ultimate software day for me. Confined to bed with a serious cold (I should have insisted on a warm beer at our History of Medicine class end-of-term dinner the night before), I finished my paper on statistical software for fMRI data analysis. Because this led only to a severe headache, and not to the feeling my head would explode every second, I decided to go on working and did my first digital humanities project ever. Here it is: Continue reading

Inspired Part 3: Are Numerical Measurements Intention in Disguise?

I want to share some more thoughts which occurred to me while reading John Tresch’s The Romantic Machine recently. I wish to elaborate more on what I missed in the book: intent(ion(ality)) on the machine users’ part. Tresch asserted that he didn’t aim at writing “a story about good intentions gone wrong, or about the sinister underpinnings of seemingly liberatory projects” (25). This is certainly legitimate, but I was wondering: Why not? Doing so would be perfectly in line with my concern for researchers’ hidden agendas, how far these fertilize or corrupt science, and to what extent they make it more or less easy for politics to adapt scientific results for their own purposes—as I pointed out in my paper on “Making Normal Sexuality” and tried to explain with a little more detail in a recent post. Continue reading

Questioning My Brain’s Products

A little bit earlier than the year 2013, my first term at grad school ended. In only a few days from now, I will be showing prospective grad students around, having lunch with them, and telling them that there is no need to be overly nervous on their interview day. Wow. I remember mine like it was a few weeks ago, not 50.5. The time since I arrived at Penn seems to have been flying in particular. It feels like we were swallowed in one piece in August and spit out the end of December. The increasing number of grey hair on my head and marked up books on my shelf seem to be sole solid evidences that I have really existed during these four months.

One more proof seems to be the hard copy of my “Seminar in the History and Sociology of Science” paper (or isn’t it? I don’t remember anybody touching it—apart from myself). It was due some December day at midnight, and I emailed it at 11.47 pm. Obviously, I did not have the time to let it sit for a day or two, and then to revise it thoroughly. In rereading it after handing it in, I discovered that it would most likely not be comprehensible for anyone who doesn’t have my brain in their head. Continue reading