10:00 am: Getting Published in Science Studies
Gaskin Library, Greenlaw Hall
A conversation with graduate students.
1:00 pm: Doing Interdisciplinary Research
Incubator, Hyde Hall
A roundtable discussion and lunch.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
3:00 pm: “Brainwriting? The Neuroscientific Turn in Handwriting Analysis”
University Room, Hyde Hall
A talk by Melissa Littlefield.
Graphology, or the study of handwriting for clues about character, has been a popular American pastime for nearly two centuries. During this time, various graphologists have relied on the phrase “handwriting is brainwriting” as a means of legitimating their practice. The assumption here is that if graphology seeks access to the self, it is able to do so because of connections between the hand and the brain. In this presentation, I unpack the phrase “handwriting is brainwriting” by looking for convergences between graphology and the neurosciences. I ask: why neuroscience and graphology might ostensibly share the brain as a common locus of self? And how do both diagnostic technologies potentially construct the self as stable and knowable via a transparent human body? Drawing on historical media, non-fiction source material, and scientific sources, I argue that graphology and the neurosciences share several ideological assumptions that allow a phrase such as “handwriting is brainwriting” to proliferate.
Melissa Littlefield earned her PhD in English and Women’s Studies from Penn State University in 2005. Since then, she has published The Lying Brain: Lie Detection in Science and Science Fiction (Michigan, 2011),co-edited The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain (Michigan, 2012), and has published articles in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Social Studies of Science, American Literary History, and Science, Technology & Human Values. She also co-edits the journal Configurations.
Sponsored by the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Literature, Medicine, and
Culture Colloquium, and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.