The Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library in Boston is magnificent! But very cold. I guess I brought the wrong clothes, being spoiled by Philly summers (or what shall I call it?).
I have been here for three weeks now, and will stay for one more. I am slowly making way through Norman Geschwind’s papers. Geschwind and his colleagues’ theory from the early 1980s is quite (in)famous among science critics.
Frankly, Geschwind and his colleagues almost designed a Grand Unified Theory of humanity there. The level of testosterone in prenatal life, so they suggested, affects the asymmetrical maturation of a human brain, and by extension one’s immune system, sexual orientation, language abilities, handedness and much more. Continue reading
JAS-Med 2014 at Baltimore was a fantastic conference. The papers were of really high quality, the talks engaging, and the attendees kind and curious.
As you may have assumed already, I presented parts of my research project on the intersection of adult neurogenesis (ANG) research and the neuroscientific quest for sex/gender differences in brains. As mentioned earlier, it is puzzling to read the standard account of ANG history—or, more broadly, of brain plasticity—and then realize that none of these ideas of malleable brains have had influence on rigid neural and social sex/gender classifications, as Rebecca Jordan-Young, Catherine Vidal, Cordelia Fine et al., and others argue. Continue reading
I am puzzled by comparing three pieces on later 20th-century neuroscience I read recently (in chronological order): Rebecca Jordan-Young’s Brain Storm, Nikolas Rose and Joelle Abi-Rached’s Neuro, as well as Tobias Rees’s dissertation Plastic Reason. The historical arguments, despite similar periodization, don’t seem to go together very well—to phrase it mildly. Continue reading
What a productive day! I realized that I love Elizabeth Wilson (or … her books) and that the owl is really a Bryn Mawr thing (and Wikipedia tells us, why), see: Continue reading