Cultures of Neuroscience (EAS3239)

StaffDr Laura Salisbury - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisites
Co-requisites
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Teaching for this module will be via one 2 hour seminar, plus one other hour long lecture or workshop each week. In the seminars, we will examine a range of cultural representations of the ‘neurochemical self’ by studying works by Ian McEwan, Tom McCarthy, Charlie Kaufman, Oliver Sacks, Alexander Luria, Catherine Malabou and others. We will track their explorations of the brain as the core of mental life and examine the implications of this for contemporary ideas of selfhood. The module will also introduce students to the discipline of ‘critical neuroscience’, which uses the resources of critical theory to understand, extend and critique neurological conceptions of the human. The course will include two lectures that situate the concerns of the module, and workshops where students will have the opportunity give presentations on a cultural representation of neuroscience of their choice. Students will also have the chance to work on and submit for assessment a research scrapbook, which will be explained in detail in the workshops. The research scrapbook is designed to support students in developing the knowledge and skills required to produce research-led work in their final essays.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of representations of the ‘neurochemical self’ in literature, film, poetry, (auto)biography, works of popular science, philosophy, and critical theory
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of a range of relevant contexts for these representations (including, but not limited to, cultural, historical, political, philosophical).
  • 3. Compare and contrast primary texts, making connections across the module
  • 4. Apply at an advanced level current debates in critical and cultural theory to the representation of neuroscience in contemporary culture

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse contemporary cultural representations and relate their concerns and modes of expression to historical, political and philosophical contexts
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses to the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Demonstrate, through seminar work and presentations, advanced communication skills and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 9. Demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 10. Research in seminars, the research scrapbook and essays, advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis;
  • 11. Through research, oral presentation and writing, demonstrate an advanced capacity to make critical use of secondary material, to question assumptions, and to reflect on their own learning process.

Syllabus plan

Neurocultures

Joseph Dumit, Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity.

Nikolas Rose, and Joelle M Abi-Rached, Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and Management of the Mind

Jan Slaby and Suparna Choudhury, ‘Proposal for a Critical Neuroscience.’

 

The Philosophy and Politics of the ‘Neuro-Turn’

Roger Cooter, ‘Neural Veils and the Will to Historical Critique: Why Historians of Science Need to Take the Neuro-Turn Seriously’.

Eds. Suparna Choudhury and Jan Slaby. Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience.

Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain?

Catherine Malabou, The Ontology of the Accident An Essay in Destructive Plasticity

 

Neuronovels (plus a film and some poetry)

Ian McEwan, Saturday

Tom McCarthy, Remainder

Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche: New York

Diego Marani, New Finnish Grammar

Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

Alice LaPlante, Turn of Mind

Philip Gross, Deep Field

 

Romantic Neurology

Alexander Luria, The Man with the Shattered World: The History of a Brain Wound

Oliver Sacks, ‘The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat’

 

(Auto)biograpy/Pathography

Marion Coutts, The Iceberg

Tom Lubbuck, Until Further Notice, I am Alive

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
332670

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled33seminars
Guided independent33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided independent70Seminar preparation (independent)
Guided independent164Reading, research and assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual presentation10 minutes1, 2, 6, 8Feedback sheet with opportunity for individual follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research scrapbook40Scrapbook of relevant research materials plus 1000 research account1-7, 9-11Feedback sheet with opportunity for individual follow-up
Essay603500 words1-7, 9-11Feedback sheet with opportunity for individual follow-up
0
0
0
0
0

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-7, 9-11Referral/deferral period
research scrapbook essayresearch scrapbook essay1-7, 9-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Students should purchase the following core texts:

 Ian McEwan, Saturday

Tom McCarthy, Remainder

Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche: New York

Diego Marani, New Finnish Grammar

Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

Alice LaPlante, Turn of Mind

Philip Gross, Deep Field

Alexander Luria, The Man with the Shattered World: The History of a Brain Wound

Marion Coutts, The Iceberg

Tom Lubbuck, Until Further Notice, I am Alive

 

Extracts from all other texts will be made available on ELE

 

Secondary Reading:

Lustig, T. J., and James Peacock. “Introduction.” Diseases and Disorders in Contemporary Fiction: The Syndrome Syndrome. London: Routledge, 2013.1-16.

Malabou, Catherine. The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. Trans. Steven Miller. New York: Fordham UP, 2012.

Rose, Nikolas. “The Neurochemical Self and its Anomalies.” Risk and Morality. Eds. Richard V Ericson and Aaron Doyle. Toronto: Toronto UP, 2003. 407-37.

---. The Politics of Life Itself: Bio-medicine, Power and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007. 

Roth, Marko. “The Rise of the Neuronovel.” n+1 8 (2009). https://nplusonemag.com/issue-8/essays/the-rise-of-the-neuronovel/

Sacks, Oliver. “Clinical Tales.” Literature and Medicine 5 (1986): 16-23

Salisbury, Laura. “Narration and Neurology: Ian McEwan’s Mother Tongue.” Textual Practice 24.5 (2010): 883-912.

Vidal, Fernando. “Brainhood, Anthropological Figure of Modernity.” History of the Human Sciences 22.1 (2009): 5-36.

Waugh, Patricia. “The Naturalistic Turn, the Syndrome and the Rise of the Neo-Phenomenological Novel.” Diseases and Disorders in Contemporary Fiction: The Syndrome Syndrome. Eds. T. J. Lustig and James Peacock. London: Routledge, 2013. 17-34.

Woods, Angela. ‘The Limits of Narrative: Provocations for the Medical Humanities,’ Medical Humanities 37.3 (2011): 73-8.

Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

15/01/2015

Last revision date

15/01/2015

Key words search

neuroscience; contemporary fiction; film; poetry; philosophy; theory