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Grant number: FT-61760-14

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Carla Jean Bittel
Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA 90045-2650)

Phrenology, Gender, and Nineteenth-Century American Science

Organs of the Mind examines the intersections of gender politics and phrenology in the pre-Civil War era. This project demonstrates the ways in which Americans, both men and women, used phrenology to understand and interpret gender relations and sex differences. It also explores the production and consumption of phrenological knowledge by tracing the work of practitioners and the responses of clients and consumers. While much is known about phrenology as a theory, less is known about practice and reception. Based on extensive archival work, this study examines how phrenologists garnered followers, claimed expertise, interacted with clients, and produced and disseminated information on the brain and body. It also explores phrenology's European origins and its transmission to the United States. Ultimately, my focus on gender and uses of phrenology shows how women and men became active consumers and agents of the nineteenth-century sciences.

Project fields:
History of Science; U.S. History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2014 – 7/31/2014