Denielle A. Elliot | Canada

Denille A. Elliot | Canada

Denielle Elliott is a socio-cultural anthropologist cross appointed to Anthropology and Social Science and the Graduate Program Director of the Science and Technology Studies at York University in Toronto. She is currently working on two research projects: a sensorial ethnography of traumatic brain injuries and a second project that explores the history of Canadian transnational microbiology research. She is co-editor of A Different Kind of Ethnography (UTP, 2017) and the author of Reimagining Science and Statecraft in Postcolonial Kenya: Stories from an African Scientist (Routledge, 2018). She has two co-edited book projects underway: Field notes, Raw and Unedited: A Compendium (with Matthew Wolf-Meyer) and Unsettling Technoscience (University of Toronto Press, with Tom Ozden-Schilling, Candis Callison, and Dian Million).

Project at IAS-STS: A Situated Neuroscience: Time, memory and injured minds

What is it like to live with ‘an injured mind’? How do medicine and society understand the invisible effects of brain injuries or the invisible suffering of those with brain trauma? Brain injuries not only result in metabolic or structural changes in the brain, they also change the self in profound ways.
People living with acquired brain injuries (ABIs) report feeling ‘otherwise’: the same, but different, resulting in subtle sensory and cognitive changes. Yet, visualizing technologies (CT, MRI, PET scans and rodent models do not account for the ways in which brain injuries or lesions leave people feeling deeply altered. How can we understand or represent the invisible inner felt transformations that result from ABIs? This research project explores how we can conduct an ethnography of ABIs if we imagine ethnography of science as a theoretically informed arts practice. It considers embodied, affective, and situated knowledge through the use of arts based ethnography and sensorial methodologies. Building on the work of feminist science studies scholars especially Barad (2007) and Haraway (1988) to think about the ways in which knowing is inseparable from modes of being, I approach the study of ABIs as a type of ‘situated neuroscience’ (Haraway 1988; Einstein 2012), where the embodied experiences of brain trauma matter to practices of knowing. 

Contact: dae at yorku [punkt] ca


Selected Publications

D. Elliott and D. Culhane (eds.) 2021 Réinventer L’ethnographie: pratiques imaginatives et méthodologies créatives. Quebec City: University of Laval Press. (French translation of A Different Kind of Ethnography) [to be published in November 2021]

with Davy Kiprotich Koech 2018 Reimagining Science and Statecraft in Postcolonial Kenya: Stories from an African Scientist. London: Routledge Press. 

Forthcoming. The Memory Multiverse: Existential ruptures, familiar faces and injured minds, Special Issue – Madness, edited by Baptiste Moutaud, Terrain. [To be printed in May 2022]

Forthcoming. Medical museums, materiality, and the traumatic brain injury of Phineas Gage. In Making Sense of Medicine: Materiality and the Reproduction of Medical Knowledge, edited by Anna Harris. Intellect Press. [To be printed in 2022]

2019 Neurological disturbances and time travel. Catalyst: Feminist, Theory, Technoscience 5(2): 1-27.