Ph.D. Cornell University 1971.
Office Address: Rufus D. Smith Hall 25 Waverly Place New York, NY 10003
Areas of Research/Interest
Anthropology of science and medicine, gender, cultures of the mind, emotion and rationality, history of psychiatry and psychology, US culture and society.
Bipolar Expeditions, winner of the 2009 Diana Forsythe prize for the best book of feminist anthropological research on work, science, and technology, including biomedicine, is being translated into French and into Chinese (simplified characters) and Chinese (traditional characters).
A number of related publications are in the works were published recently:
“Mood disorders as a public health crisis,” Imagining Illness: Public Health and Visual Culture, David Serlin, ed. University of Minnesota Press. 2010
“The Lives of Drugs,” in Concepts of Life, Stanford University Press, Paola Marrati, Jane Bennett, and Todd Myers, Eds.
“Sleepless in America,” Culture and Pharmaceuticals, Janis Jenkins, ed., SAR Press.
“Managing the Sleeping Human,” (in German) In Tracking the Human, Beatrix Rubin, et al. eds. Chronos, Zurich
“Self-making and the brain,” Subjectivity, Dec. 2010
“Tracking sleep,” (in Portuguese) In Health reasons: Society and the administration of the body,” Manuela I Cunha, ed.
Current News / Projects
Updated November 2012
In addition to some previously taught courses, I taught a new graduate version of the Anthropology of Science. So much new material has been published that there was little overlap with the version I taught a couple of years ago. It was good to have Emily Cohen, recent NYU PhD and NSF postdoc at Columbia, visit the class and present material from her new project on virtual reality methods that are being used for rehabilitation by the military.
I have begun ethnographic research on a new project that involves the history of the human subject in experimental psychology. How and why did early anthropologists and psychologists imagine that the complex social lives of human beings could be captured in experiments organized around dependent and independent variables? Were the social lives of subjects actually extinguished in these experimental models or do traces always remain even today? What are the implications of such traces for a science whose findings exercise immense influence in contemporary daily life, positing knowledge about cognition, emotion, perception, and so on? I received grants to support this research from the NSF and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Initially I have been learning about the field by serving as a volunteer subject in a variety of kinds of psychological experiments. (The illustration of an fMRI is my brain in an experiment on word recognition.) Over the last couple of years I have taken courses in advanced cognitive neuroscience and plan to continue observational research in laboratories this year. I have also begun to plan ethnographic participant observation with several experimental psychologists, one who works on attention, another on memory, and one who is studying a variety of cognitive processes. I presented a paper at a conference at the University of Edinburgh on why depictions of the anatomy of the brain in neuroscience lack any mention of blood. I gave other lectures related to this project at the University of Manchester and the CUNY Graduate Center series on “NeuroCultures.
” Most dramatic (and anxiety provoking) to me was a paper I submitted to the professional society for the history of the behavioral sciences, called Cheiron. The organizers made the paper a featured lecture, which meant I had to talk about the history of psychology to a lot of people who have been studying this field for decades. Luckily my contribution was to discuss what anthropologists and medical doctors were doing in the 1898 Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Straits just before the first English experimental psychology laboratory was established in Cambridge, and this they were interested to hear about.
More recently, I gave the 19th annual Sidney W. Mintz lecture at Johns Hopkins on a lost chapter in the history of anthropology. I look forward to events in Paris in January 2013 on the occasion of the translation of my book Bipolar Expeditions into French.
I continue to be very involved in the day–to-day work of publishing this general interest magazine in anthropology, whose 8th issue has just gone to press. Under the editorial leadership of Kate McCaffrey and with the help of Susan Harding, Ida Susser and the Editorial Board, we are developing stronger links between the print magazine and the web site. The membership of the Web Collective is available on the web site. The print magazine is available by the article or the issue via JStor; subscriptions are available online. The magazine also has AAA affiliation through the General Anthropology Division this fall. Many others been involved in writing and editing: see the web site for well-deserved credits (anthronow.com). Volunteers are welcome.
The Psyences Project
This project is a regional seminar for scholars and clinicians in the “Psy” disciplines that meets for discussion with an invited speaker 2-4 times per year. It has a listserv of about 200 people, which anyone interested is welcome to join. It has been funded by IHPK, Princeton, and Vanderbilt University, and through 2011 it has been supported by a grant from NYU’s Humanities Institute. Among the speakers for the coming academic year will be Alison Bechdel and Mindy Fullilove.
Workshop on ethnography of science
Rayna Rapp and I organize a workshop for presentation of work-in-progress on ethnographic projects in the anthropology of science. This year we had presentations by Rebecca Jordan-Young, Katrina Karkazis. Zoe Wool and Betsey Brada.
Affiliated with other programs
-- Founding editor of the general interest magazine Anthropology Now (www.anthronow.com) sponsored by the American Ethnological Association, funded in part by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and published by Paradigm Publishers. To subscribe visit www.paradigmpublishers.com/journals/an Journal website is at http://anthronow.com
--With Louis Sass and Elizabeth Lunbeck, Martin co-organizes the regional seminar, The Psyences Project. The Psyences Project brings clinicians into dialogue with academics around common interests in mind and brain as understood by disciplines such as psychology, psychiatry, and psychopharmacology in cultural and historical context. (http://www.nyu.edu/fas/ihpk/Psyences/PsyencesSP2006.htm)
--Research Director (with Elizabeth Lunbeck) of a 2009 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship program funded by the Social Science Research Council, on “Cultures and Histories of the Human Sciences.”