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The Elusive BrainLiterary Experiments in the Age of Neuroscience$
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Jason Tougaw

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300221176

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300221176.001.0001

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Neurocomics and Neuroimaging

Neurocomics and Neuroimaging

Chapter:
(p.186) 6 Neurocomics and Neuroimaging
Source:
The Elusive Brain
Author(s):

Jason Tougaw

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300221176.003.0010

This chapter examines a small number of recent graphic brain narratives that experiment with novel methods of visualizing the brain—including David B.’s Epileptic, Ellen Forney’s Marbles, and Matteo Farinella and Hana Ros’s Neurocomic. Tougaw argues that these narratives both draw from and challenge cultural responses to high-profile neuroimaging techniques, including PET and fMRI. Graphic narratives are a subcultural genre celebrated for their rebellious aesthetics and emphasis on narratives that challenge mainstream social and political assumptions. Brain scanning technologies are highly specialized tools that have revolutionized brain research and gained considerable mainstream attention. The mainstreaming of these technologies oversimplifies the images they produce, creating a widely held sense that they offer direct access to the brains they visualize. By contrast, graphic narratives put heavy emphasis on the aesthetic process involved in their making of brain images. While careful not to minimize these differences, the chapter argues that key similarities between neurocomics and neuroimaging techniques can be a means for clarifying the roles played by the sciences and the humanities in the cultural laboratory of contemporary neuromania.

Keywords:   Neuroimaging, Neurocomics, fMRI, PET, Graphic narrative

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