Making Up Neurological People

The Northrop Frye Centre Presents: 
Neurological People


Friday, March 24th, 2017 at 1:00pm
Johanna Pokorny, NFC Doctoral Fellow
The Northrop Frye Centre (VC102), Old Victoria College Building
91 Charles Street West

As the neurosciences have become increasingly dominant, the brain has become a central site for the social inscription of self. New technologies and novel conceptual frameworks continue to change the study of neuroscience and contribute to its popularity, and example being the uptake of neuroplasticity and the notion that the brain is not “hard wired” but interacts dynamically with an environment, recasts the ways in which brains, bodies, and biologies are also rendered environmental, social, and cultural.

This challenges ideas about the changeability of biological substance, having implications especially for the scientists who think and study this neurological personhood. How does this scientific personhood, newly changeable, social, and cultural as well as biological and neurological intersect with notions of the self and the body in anthropology? This talk ethnographically follows the laboratory life of a group of neuroscientists and how they attempt to link the brain, the body, and notions of personhood in their experimental practice. 

Johanna Pokorny 
is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology in the socio-cultural stream. Her research interests lie in the anthropology of science and science and technology studies. Her dissertation focuses on current changes in neuroscience research, and how these recast North American cultural notions of the self and the body. She is especially committed to fostering research and discussion that crosses disciplinary divides and furthers the translation of ideas across the arts and sciences.