Author Archives: denielle elliott

Denielle Elliott is a socio-cultural anthropologist at York University in Toronto. Her work focuses on arts-based ethnography and the intersections of colonialism, medicine and science, and politics. She is the author of, Reimagining Science and Statecraft in Postcolonial Kenya: Stories from an African Scientist (2018, Routledge), and co-editor of A Different Kind of Ethnography (2017, UTP). Funding for this research has been provided by a Wenner-Gren Award for Anthropological Research.
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Art, neuroscience and ethnography

Neuroscience The brain is a wild and wonderful thing. Even in a damaged, broken, or diseased state, it performs wonders. Oliver Sacks, neurologist and prolific writer, knew this and he wrote a series of books that documented the inner machinations of injured minds. These are detailed clinical studies of patients, documenting the unusual and often unimaginable. Many of these conditions are extraordinarily rare, drawn from only one or two documented cases. Oliver Sacks collected these clinical case studies, presenting them to his readers like some sort of text-based museum of the absurd. Almost ethnographic stories. Many of his patient accounts are studies in imagination, delusion, sensory, and memory – a ‘frenzied confabulatory delirium’ (Sacks 1998: 109), ‘kaleidoscopic mutations’ (108), ‘sensory ghosts’ (66), and an 88-year-old woman living with neuro-syphilis who preferred the state of ‘mania’ (103). His stories speak of the visceral of the injured mind – sensitivities, time slippage, pain, (read more...)