Upcoming Talk in Baltimore (T.C.) and Sensory History Project in Old City (David Barnes)

Only so you know how I’m spending my weekends: I will be presenting my plasticity project for the first time at JAS-Med this Saturday. This year, the conference is hosted by Johns Hopkins’s Department of the History of Medicine (and next year, it will be our turn!). Find the program here, and don’t hesitate to join us. At least Chris’s paper will be amazing, too.

One other literally historical project that you shouldn’t miss is David Barnes’s Sensory History Project in Old City this Friday evening. I will be there!

Neuroscience-y Updates

  1. Thanks to the wonderful Hypotheses team, we have the custom header back! They make my blogging life wonderful. (Having somebody else host your weblog is like renting an apartment with a doorperson and a janitor. Maybe even with a gym in the basement: you can exercise whenever you want to, but you never have to shovel the snow!)
  2. Podcasts of the NeuroGenderings III keynotes are online. Check it out: Continue reading

NeuroGenderings III: So Many Women Saying Smart Things in a Conference Room

From May 8–10, 2014, more than a hundred students and scholars from the neurosciences, social sciences, and the humanities convened at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, for the NeuroGenderings III conference. The organizers Cynthia Kraus (University of Lausanne) and Anelis Kaiser (University of Bern) titled this meeting the “1st international Dissensus Conference on brain and gender.” 14 papers by scholars at different career stages, mainly from Europe and the US, provided examples of successful sex/gender-sensitive brain research and addressed problematic neuroscientific concepts and practices from feminist and queer perspectives. The four keynote speakers illustrate the diversity of approaches: Rebecca Jordan-Young (Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Barnard College), Gillian Einstein (Social & Behavioural Health Sciences, University of Toronto), Georgina Rippon (Psychology, Aston University), and Anne Fausto-Sterling (Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry and Gender Studies, Brown University). Papers were selected by the NeuroGenderings Network, a non-institutionalized interdisciplinary group of scholars, which was founded in 2010 to offer a platform for exchanging best practice models for and reservations against sex/gender research in the neuroscientific realm. All attendees consented that dissenting from unquestioned concepts and practices in brain research can benefit both our neuroscientific knowledge and our social life. Continue reading

NeuroGenderings III: Dissensus Conference

Join me now at the NeuroGenderings III Conference, the First International Dissensus Conference on Brain and Gender in Lausanne, Switzerland. If you cannot make it in person, follow us on Twitter (#NG3).

I will post more about the fascinating talks and contributors later. (Still terribly jetlagged, so no time to do it at night, and the program is just too good to not concentrate on the talks entirely.)

Neuroaesthetics and Great Resources at Penn

Sometimes I simply love being a graduate student at a private American university—resources at schools I used to attend in Germany (even though “Elite”) were not in the least comparable to what’s going on here with regard to talks, workshops, interdepartmental conferences and classes, methods courses, (mental) health resources, funding opportunities, … Take today: I am just returning from a talk on “neuroaesthetics” organized by Penn’s Center for Neuroscience and Society (CNS) in the Law School’s beautiful Silverman Hall with a nice reception afterwards. More on the talk after a short advertisement of the CNS: 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

Impressive Brains: Latour and Bechdel, Cartoons and ANT

“I am not a closed circuit; I don’t trust my own subjectivity. This is why I try to get as much outside-assertion as I can.”—It’s almost a month ago since Alison Bechdel stated this confession during her keynote address for the Queer Method Conference at Penn on October 31st. I suggest you find a way to get to know her work, listen to her, and see her (!). But try not to freak out during Q&A and tell her how much you admire her, or she will ask you to “please, keep cool.” Afterwards, I suggest you go home and read Latour’s Reassembling the Social. Continue reading

Some Conferences, Sex/Gender and Handedness

Today, I received the CfP for the third NeuroGenderings Conference. I really have to share this before I start with all the readings recommended by Penn’s HSS Department for the time before classes start 08/28. (Noteworthy difference between Germany and Penn: One to three books per semester and class in Berlin, four books plus additional reader for pre-orientation at Penn.) If you are interested in sex/gender/sexuality and its material as well as ideological foundations, I suggest strongly that you check your calendar and try to reconcile a trip to Lausanne with your schedule for next May. As one might have noticed by thoroughly inspecting the links in the left frame, I attended the NeuroGenderings II Conference last year. This was my first conference (in not too many, I admit) where I thought: “I want to do some research on this topic!” many times. On earlier conferences, I used to think: “How interesting! This methodology is truly remarkable, but I would rather not work on quantum physics,” or the like. Continue reading