STS Departmental Seminar Series – November 19th – Dr. Kate Henne (University of Waterloo) – “Grey Matters: Imagining Traumatic Brain Injury through the Lens of Sex Difference”
As the sixth installment of the 2019-2020 STS Departmental Seminar Series Dr. Kate Henne (University of Waterloo) will give a talk on November 19th entitled ‘Grey Matters: Imagining Traumatic Brain Injury through the Lens of Sex Difference”:
Media coverage of high-profile athlete deaths and lawsuits involving professional sport leagues in North America has helped to raise awareness of the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), contributing to new investments in research. Rather than focus on the more popular emphasis on men’s bodies and brains in the context of collision sports and the military, this presentation examines gendered contours of emergent agendas concerned with TBI in women and considers how the embrace of sex difference informs research and policy. Drawing on ongoing fieldwork in Australia and North America, this analysis scrutinizes how efforts to capture and explain women’s experiences of TBI in scientific and regulatory narratives reveal complications between notions of sex and gender, as well as other social categories of difference, across two overlapping domains: (1) scientific knowledge production about TBI that informs–and is informed by–societal understandings of the embodiment of brains and sex/gender; and (2) calls for sex-specific TBI interventions and regulation. The analysis builds upon and extends feminist technoscience studies of neuroscience by unpacking how power relations and social inequalities implicate not only foundational claims constituting the science of brain injury, but also notions about human agency and debilitation.