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Tristan Donaldson

BA Candidate - Neuroanthropology and Philosophy within a Chinese Context

Prior to starting at NYU, Tristan spent three years living in China, an experience which was influential in shaping his concentration, Neuroanthropology and Philosophy within a Chinese Context. He came to Gallatin with interests in foreign languages and cultures, as well as politics and history. A seven-year student of Mandarin, Tristan plans to use his language skills to conduct new research and analyze existing work in his areas of interest.

Two of his favorite Interdisciplinary seminars at Gallatin were “Freud” with Charles Gelman and “How Human? Cyborgs, Robots and Artificial Intelligence” with Cyd Cipolla. Tristan is the Editor-in-Chief of Compass, Gallatin’s interdisciplinary research journal.

His concentration interweaves both cognitive and social neuroscience, as well as anthropology and philosophy to understand the connections among neural substrates, evolution and culture and their roles in shaping human consciousness. He integrates his coursework in Chinese studies to explore these same connections, but specifically within the geographical and cultural spaces of China. He also approaches analysis through a political lens, to evaluate Chinese research within the fields of neuroscience and anthropology, in addition to the implications of China’s development of artificial intelligence and brain-inspired technologies. His course of study has developed to reflect his goal to become an interdisciplinary researcher.


Tristan Donaldson