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05-11-2012

Clarkson University Hosts Canadian & American Conference on Technique, Technology and Therapy in the Brain and Mind Sciences

Last weekend, Clarkson University’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for Canadian Studies hosted a joint Canadian and American conference on "Technique, Technology and Therapy in the Brain and Mind Sciences."
 
Supported by Clarkson University’s Honors Program and the School of Arts & Sciences, the international conference featured scholars with anthropological, historical, literary, philosophical, and sociological expertise in the brain and mind sciences.

The invited speakers included two Clarkson undergraduates, Rachel Fulton of Colton, N.Y., an honors sophomore majoring in history, and Rebecca Schilling of Lakeville, Conn., an honors senior majoring in biology and bio-molecular science.

The speakers also included scholars from Clarkson University, Harvard University, Hunter College, McGill University, the National Institutes of Health, Penn State University, Princeton University, Yale University, and York University at Toronto.   
 
When looked at across time, techniques, technologies, and therapies in the brain and mind sciences raise many puzzling questions for humanists and social scientists.

Conference presenters addressed such weighty questions as: What is the relationship between technique, technology and therapy? How have each separately constructed the medicine of the mind and brain? Why did shock therapies and psychoanalytic therapies disappear from American science and medical practice?

The complex questions required trans-disciplinary approaches, a style that, while common to Clarkson's Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, is not typically found in many university environments across North America. 

"I greatly enjoyed my experience at the conference, which introduced me to a group of truly outstanding historians and gave me an exciting glimpse of academic life," said Fulton. "Attending this conference taught me as much about the culture and practice of academia, as about the history of medicine, and greatly strengthened my desire to pursue a graduate degree in history."

"Attending and participating in the conference was one of the most intellectually stimulating events I've been to while attending Clarkson," said Schilling. "I felt privileged to be able to listen to others present and presenting my thesis at the conference was enlightening."

The 18 conference attendees pre-circulated drafts of their papers before the conference and then during hour-long presentations, debated and challenged each other's arguments and claims about the answers to those questions. The contributors hope to produce an edited monograph from the conference.

The event may lead to a second conference in Canada next year that would allow Canadian and American scholars, whose research interprets and contemplates neuroscience, to continue the work begun at Clarkson.     
 
Clarkson University Humanities & Social Science Professor Stephen T. Casper and Delia Gavrus of McGill University's Department of Social Studies of Medicine organized the conference.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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