Doctoral Candidate

Entered 2013

369 Cohen Hall
(office hours by appointment)

Curriculum Vitæ


M.A. (History and Culture of Science and Technology), Technichal University of Berlin, 2013

B.Sc. (Mathematics), Free University of Berlin, 2010

Research Interests

Attempts to classify and quantify unruly human characteristics are my historical passion. My dissertation, “Sinister Intersectionality: A Left-Handed History of Neuro-Centrisms, 1865–2015,” traces the continuities in scientific attempts to uncover the causes of manual preference. Sadly enough, this is a story of the persistence of prejudice against left-handers within the brain and mind sciences. This is not least because scientific handedness research has not always aimed primarily at an etiology of handedness, but at a classification of different brain types. Since Pierre Paul Broca’s studies on aphasia in the 1860s, hand preference and brain morphology have been closely intertwined. Drawing on anatomical, genetic, and hormonal theories of the connection between the brain and the hand, scientists have used—and continue to do so—the seemingly value-free category of handedness to advance controversial scientific inquiries into the biological underpinnings of sex/gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, as well as physical and intellectual (dis)abilities.

My side projects include measurement scales for human behavior and the contradictory history of neuroscientific claims or rejections to pursue a “new phrenology.” My research connects both sides of the Atlantic by using English, French, and German sources. Close-reading of published and archival sources, oral histories, as well as large-scale digital text analyses are my go-to tools.

Selected Work

Cornel, Tabea. “Matters of Sex and Gender in F.J. Gall’s Organology: A Primary Approach.” Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 23, no. 4 (2014): 377–394. DOI: 10.1080/0964704X.2014.885097.

Cornel, Tabea. 2009. Ein Brief. In Mein Nietzsche: Ein Projekt des Nietzsche-Forums München, ed. Hans J. Becker, Miriam Ommeln, Hans O. Seitscheck, and Elke Wachendorff, 49–51. Nordhausen: Traugott Bautz. ISBN: 978-3-88309-543-1.

Teaching Fields

History and Philosophy of Science, Gender in Science, Bio- and Neuroethics, History of Medicine, History of Modern Europe


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