Looking for Book Recommendations for Neuroanthropology Classes!

I will teach a graduate course in Neuroanthropology in the fall. I plan to use our forthcoming edited volume, The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology, from MIT Press as one of the core books for the class (it will be out in September, and ready for shipping to university bookstores in August). But I am also looking for other recommendations people might have for books for this class.

I started the morning particularly interested in finding a good book that covers the brain and neuroscience, so any recommendations on that side are definitely welcome. But I am just as open to recommendations of all sorts – critical neuroscience, ethnographies, implications of neuroscience, and whatever you think might be useful.

I know there are other people out there planning their own neuroanthropology courses, so your recommendations could be useful for all sorts of different courses. And I am already planning an undergraduate version of neuroanthropology for the following year, so the more recommendations the better!

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19 Responses to Looking for Book Recommendations for Neuroanthropology Classes!

  1. According to Smith says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I expect that potential grad students are not going to be impressed with the idea that their graduate professor is not even familiar with the text books on his/ her subject of “expertise”. Not inspiring any confidence here . . . .

    • daniel.lende says:

      You are confusing a willingness to listen to others with a lack of expertise. I don’t feel the need to shout out how educated I might be when asking for help; and I ask for help because I care about how my students learn.

      Still, you gave me a chuckle with the notion of all those undiscovered textbooks in neuroanthropology sitting around on everyone’s desk except my own…

    • Matt says:

      Professors do not, as a rule, normally read the textbooks in their field of expertise, except in trying to select one for a class. Textbooks serve as an introduction to a subject matter that the professor is likely familiar with.

  2. Chris says:

    I’m teaching an Honors College seminar I call Primate Religion & Human Consciousness that is essentially a Neuroanthropology course. I’m using several books, but the ones I’m liking best are Winkelman & Cardena’s new 2-volume edited set “Altering Consciousness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” The first volume covers the historical, cultural, and artistic perspectives and volume 2 covers the biological and psychological ones. The other one I like alongside this is Emma Cohen’s “The Mind Possessed,” which is an ethnography of Brazilian spirit possession from a cog sci approach.

  3. daniel.lende says:

    Some recommendations that have come up on Twitter:

    How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer
    Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
    This Is Your Brain on Music, by Daniel Levitin
    Culture in Mind, by Bradd Shore

  4. Hi Daniel –
    These are the obvious ones, by the usual suspects, which you are aware of, but I’ll mention them for the benefit of others. (All of these are edited volumes by the way).

    Choudhury, Suparna, and Jan Slaby, Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience, 1st edn (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)

    Kirmayer, Laurence J, Robert Lemelson, and Mark Barad, Understanding Trauma : Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

    Hinton, Devon, and Byron Good, eds., Culture and Panic Disorder, 1st edn (Stanford University Press, 2009)

    Ortega, Francisco, and Fernando Vidal, Neurocultures: Glimpses Into an Expanding Universe (Peter Lang Pub Inc, 2010)

    Pickersgill, Martyn, Sociological Reflections on the Neurosciences, ed. by Martyn Pickersgill and Ira Van Keulen, 1st edn (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011)

  5. nacasa says:

    The Research Works Act, H.R. 3699, is a bill that would make it illegal for researchers to post their own publications on the internet for public access. Guess who is behind this bill? Elsevier and the commercial publishing lobby (the Association of American Publishers).

  6. Jan says:

    Thinking About Dementia: Culture, Loss, and the Anthropology of Senility
    Annette Leibing & Lawrence Cohen (Eds.)
    2006: Rutgers University Press

  7. Eric G says:

    I’d recommend No Aging in India by Lawrence Cohen. It’s not “hard” neuroscience but it gives students a chance to think about how symptoms, pathology, and culture interact to form a person’s experience of cognitive aging.

    Similarly, I found this lesser known article on ADHD very informative: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.2002.104.1.283/abstract

    Case studies of epileptic seizures being interpreted as spirit possession are also intriguing. There are multiple cases of this, worldwide, but it’s been most widely documented in Haiti:

  8. Peter Gray says:

    I’d throw John Allen’s “The Lives of the Brain” into the mix of possibilities. It’s a very readable and enjoyable overview of various topics falling under a Neuroanthropology umbrella.

  9. Todd H says:

    The following are other possibilities:
    1. Brain Culture: Neuroscience and Popular Media (2011) by Davi Johnson Thornton
    2. Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (2003) by Joseph Dumit
    3. With Shaking Hands: Aging with Parkinson’s Disease in America’s Heartland (2009) by Samantha Solimeo

  10. Danielle Gembala says:

    ‘Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps, And What We Can Do About It’ by Lise Eliot. A fantastic evaluation of the neuroscience of gender differences and how cultural norms influence gendered perceptions.

  11. elenamary says:

    i’m really enjoying seeing all these book suggestions—more books for my list! i’ve never taken a neuroanthro course but have really enjoyed the books Through the language glass: why the world looks different in other languages by Guy Deutscher and Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks

  12. Chelsea Shields Strayer says:

    I’ve found so many connections with and really have enjoyed the three-part evolutionary psychology of religion edited volume: “When God and Science Meet” by Patrick McNamara. So many of the individual articles are fantastic. However it costs too much to ever have students buy. Here is the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Science-Three-Volumes-volumes/dp/0275987884/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1335370410&sr=8-2

  13. This new textbook sounds like it might fit:
    ‘Psychology for the Third Millennium: Integrating Cultural & Neuroscience Perspectives’ by Rom Harre & Fathali M. Moghaddan, just published April 2012 by Sage Publications.

  14. Trisha says:

    I’ve been enjoying reading “How God Changes Your Brain”, and it could be an interesting choice.

  15. Matt says:

    “Braintrust” by Patricia Churchland.

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