Tabea Cornel

Visiting Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities - Health, Culture and Societies - Humanities - Interdisciplinary Programs

Tabea Cornel
  • Phone: (941) 487-4618
  • Email:
  • Office Location: PME 227
  • Mail Location: ACE 116

., Department of History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
SCAN Graduate Student Certificate in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Center for Neuroscience and Society, University of Pennsylvania
M.A., Institute of Philosophy and the History of Literature, Science, and Technology, Technical University of Berlin
B.Sc., Institute of Mathematics, Free University of Berlin

Research Interests
My passion is to unravel the epistemological and moral implications of scientific and medical classification systems. I focus on the sciences of the mind and brain in the English-, German-,and French-speaking worlds since the 19th century. My current research project, tentatively titled Unruly Quantification: The Legacy of Neuroscientific Scales, Scores, and Statistical Methods, historicizes the mathematical technologies on which contemporary neuroscientists rely at different stages of the research process. Unruly Quantification will illuminate how quantifying tools have impacted our understanding of the brain, mind, and self. The project will result in traditional written outputs as well as digital products, including an interactive map that traces the travel of quantifying technologies across time, space, and disciplinary boundaries. I am also working on a book manuscript examining the ways in which definitions of manual preference have shaped research on the brain and mind since the 1860s. The current working title is Sinister Intersectionality: A Left-Handed History of Neuro-Centrisms, 1865–2020.

Teaching Interests
History and philosophy of science, sex/gender and science, history of medicine, bio- and neuroethics, medical humanities and neuro-humanities, digital humanities

Course Offerings

Spring 2021:

  • Race, Gender, and Sex(uality) in the History of the Mind and Brain Sciences
  • A History of Biomedicine

January Interterm 2021:

  • The Replication Crisis and Open Science

Fall 2020:

  • Neuroethics
  • Medicine and Literature

Spring 2020:

  • The Mystery of Lefty Brains: An Introduction to Digital Text Analysis and the History of Handedness Research
  • Here’s My Number: Quantifying Human Bodies, Identities, and Behaviors Since 1800
  • Substance Use and Harm Reduction: Then, Now, and for a Better Future

January Interterm 2020:

  • Politics of Yellow Fever in Alexander Hamilton’s America

Fall 2019:

  • A History of Biomedicine
  • Broken Brains, Broken Souls: Patient Experiences in Neurology and Psychiatry since 1800

Previous Teaching Experience
Graduate Level:

  • Life of Brain: Selves and Societies in the Age of the Brain and Mind Sciences

Undergraduate Level:

  • Emergence of Modern Science
  • The Information Age
  • Bioethics
  • Health and Societies: Global Perspectives
  • Medicine in History
  • Ars Rationalis I (Logic I)

Selected Publications

“Contested Numbers: The Failed Negotiation of Objective Statistics in a Methodological Review of Kinsey et al.’s Sex Research.” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences (in press).

“An Even-Handed Debate? The Sexed/Gendered Controversy over Laterality Genes in British Psychology, 1970s–1990s.” History of the Human Sciences 33, no. 5 (2020): 138–66.

“Broca’s Approach Is Outdated: Ethical and Epistemic Problems with the Exclusion of Left-Handed Subjects from Neuroscientific Studies.” AJOB Neuroscience 9, no. 1 (2018): W1–W2.

“Something Old, Something New, Something Pseudo, Something True: Pejorative and Deferential References to Phrenology Since 1840.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 161, no. 4 (2017): 299–332.

“Matters of Sex and Gender in F.J. Gall’s Organology: A Primary Approach.” Journal of the History of the     Neurosciences 23, no. 4 (2014): 377–94.

Weblog and CV