Publication: Sex and Gender in F.J. Gall’s Organology

It took quite some time, but my article “Matters of Sex and Gender in F. J. Gall’s Organology: A Primary Approach” was finally published online in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. If your institution does not have a subscription to the Journal, simply email me, and I will give you access to one of 50 remaining free eprints.

Here is the abstract:

The originator of phrenology, F. J. Gall (1758–1828), saw himself as a natural scientist and physiologist. His approach consisted of brain anatomy but also of palpating skulls and inferring mental faculties. Unlike some of the philosophical principles underlying Gall’s work, his conception of sex/gender has not yet been examined in detail. In this article, I will focus on Gall’s treatment of men and women, his idea of sex differences, and how far an assumed existence of dichotomous sexes influenced his work. In examining his primary writings, I will argue that Gall held some contradictory views concerning the origin and manifestation of sex/gender characteristics, which were caused by the collision of his naturalistic ideas and internalized gender stereotypes. I will conclude that Gall did not aim at deducing or legitimizing sex/gender relations scientifically, but that he tried to express metaphysical reasons for a given social order in terms of functional brain mechanisms.

And these are the acknowledgements (only so you know whether the academic world knows about your existence now):

I am grateful to Frank Stahnisch for his support and indebted to two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions. Teresa Beuscher was indispensable for proper French-German translations; Anelis Kaiser, Liesel Tarquini, and Friedrich Steinle commented on earlier drafts of this article, and so did my History of Medicine class at the University of Pennsylvania under direction of David Barnes—thank you all.


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