Over the past several decades, lawmakers have used scientific studies of brain development and function to justify education policy choices. Although such findings are always subject to change or re-interpretation, increasingly, the logic of “brain science” is being equated with a kind of fundamental truth. Practically, this often leads to justifications for programs ranging from cursive writing mandates among primary school students to holistic medical interventions intended to prevent mental decline in older age.
In this podcast, Jordynn Jack, Chi Omega Term Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explores how contemporary public rhetorical strategies have advanced the idea that we are “neurological subjects,” with identities located in and constructed through our cognitive abilities. Ultimately, Jack’s work invites us to consider how we understand and use science in our personal lives and in the public sphere.