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Minds and Bodies: A History of Neuroscience

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number IDSEM-UG1801
Section 001
Instructor Brendan Matz
Days R
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SCI



This course examines the history of the sciences of the mind and brain from the end of the eighteenth century to the present. Ranging from mesmerism and phrenology to physiology, genetics, and neuroscience, it will consider the development over time of knowledge about the brain and its relationship to the body. The course will also analyze the ways in which this knowledge has been applied in medicine, law, economics, government policy, and religion. Some of the topics we will look at include the following: mind-body dualism, neuron theory, psychoanalysis and biology, brain imaging, the molecular and plastic brain, and psychotropic drugs. The course takes a primarily historical approach to this topic, but work from other academic disciplines that engage with related questions will also be addressed. The last third of the course will focus on recent history and contemporary issues surrounding the “century of the brain.” One of our challenges will be to examine what history and science and technology studies more broadly might contribute to ongoing conversations about minds and bodies. Texts we will consider include Ann Fabian's  The Skull Collectors  and Ray Kurzweil's  How to Create a Mind .


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)