Anatomy & Identity

Available to watch on-demand now

How we think about who we are and how that intersect with our bodies, brains and biology is the subject of discussion today. But has this always been the case? Are there blurred lines between anatomy & identity we should be exploring?

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DatesAvailable to watch on-demand now
Talks structure30 minute lecture20 minute Q&A
LocationOnline

7 talks in this Garden Series

Ep

01

Human Biology & Medicine
Psychology & Behaviour
How do conjoined twins challenge our view of identity?

Conjoined twins are among the rarest of human beings. Revered in some cultures and vilified in others. How should we think about individuality in conjoined twinning, & should the phenomenon often seen as a medical “problem” be solved? Read more

Alice Dreger

Alice Dreger is a mainstream writer, an historian of medicine and science, and a journalist. An award-winning scholar, teacher, and writer, Dreger’s best-known book is Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, which argues that the pursuit of evidence is the most important ethical imperative of our time. It was named an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Book Review.” The Chronicle of Higher Education has called her a “star scholar” and has described Dreger’s writing as “reliably funny and passionate and vulnerable.”

Dreger has bylines in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, WIRED, Slate, The Guardian, New Statesman, Aeon Magazine, Quillette, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Atlantic, and more. She frequently delivers keynote addresses and has appeared as a guest expert on hundreds of media programs, including on Oprah, Good Morning America, and NPR, and in many original documentaries, including for A&E, ABC, Discovery, PBS, and HBO.  Her TEDx lecture “Is Anatomy Destiny?” has been viewed over 1.2 million times.

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Ep

02

Human Biology & Medicine
Society & Politics
Is our anatomy our destiny?

In 1911, French doctors thought LS, a fashion model, had herniated ovaries. No one expected them to be testes. What is intersex? And what can we learn about sex and gender development from it? Read more

Alice Dreger

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Ep

03

Psychology & Behaviour
Literature & Language
How do the stories we tell shape who we are?

Conversation is a continuous act of curating, connecting and analysing the events in our lives. How do we decide how we want to be seen? Read more

Prof. Ann Phoenix

University College London

Ann Phoenix is a Professor of Psychosocial Studies at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, Social Research Institute, UCL Institute of Education, and a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academy of Social Sciences. She is on the Nuffield Foundation Trust Board.

She mainly researches the ways in which psychological experiences and social processes are linked and intersectional. It includes work on racialized and gendered identities and experiences; mixed-parentage, masculinities, consumption, young people and their parents, the transition to motherhood, families, migration, and transnational families. Much of her research draws on mixed methods and includes narrative approaches. 

She is particularly good at word games and enjoys reading and taking long walks outside. Most often, you will find her spending time with her two fascinating grandchildren. 

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Ep

04

Human Biology & Medicine
Society & Politics
Is the human brain pink, blue or fifty shades of grey matter?

Do the anatomical differences between men and women extend to the biology of the brain? Or does it all come down to environmental influence? Read more

Prof. Gina Rippon

Aston University

Gina Rippon is an Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging at the Aston Brain Centre in Aston University, and past president of the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience.

Her research involves state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques to investigate developmental disorders such as autism. She also investigates the use of neuroscience techniques to explore social processes, particularly those associated with sex/gender issues. She is an outspoken critic of 'neurotrash', the populist (mis)use of neuroscience research to (mis)represent our understanding of the brain. Her book on this topic The Gendered Brain, has been described as "Highly accessible and revolutionary to a glorious degree" (Observer).

Rippon has spoken at many events worldwide, most recently at the Sydney Opera House and the EU Commission. She has given keynote addresses to business organisations and to government policy groups, including the UK's Cabinet Office and the Government's Gender Equality Unit. She also writes for popular science outlets such as New Scientist, Scientific American and The Conversation, as well as contributing to programmes such as BBC's Horizon, Woman's Hour and The Infinite Monkey Cage.

In 2015, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association for services to the communication of science.

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Ep

05

Human Biology & Medicine
Science & Nature
What can animals teach us about sex?

The world of dating, sex and childbirth is a hazardous one, full of complex behaviours and even threats to our health. Well, mating in the animal kingdom is just as complex. What can we learn by looking at our animal cousins? Read more

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

Harvard University

B. Natterson-Horowitz's fascinating work at Harvard University and UCLA uses insight from the natural world to find new ways of approaching human health and development.

Studying a diverse range of animals in natural settings, B has uncovered adaptations with relevance to heart failure, sudden cardiac death, seizures, dementia, movement disorders, infertility and psychiatric conditions including anxiety, compulsive and eating disorders.

B's most recent research focuses on species-wide patterns in development across critical transitional periods of life including the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

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Ep

06

Psychology & Behaviour
Science & Nature
What can animals teach us about identity?

Some of mankind's most enduring questions are about who we are as individuals, how we can live successfully alongside others, & the tension between the two. What can we learn about identity from our furry, feathered and scaly friends? Read more

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

Harvard University

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Ep

07

Psychology & Behaviour
Geography & the World
How does where you grow up impact who you become?

We often hear about nature vs nurture, but did you know that science can pinpoint specific personality traits that can be traced to the environment we grew up in? How much of our adult personality has its roots in not who we were born, but where? Read more

Dr. Dorsa Amir

University of California, Berkeley

Dorsa has always been interested in the origins of ideas and behaviours. So much so that her friends describe her as "the person most likely to interrupt what you're saying to tell you the etymology of the word you just used".

Dorsa's boundless curiosity has led to her fascinating speciality, which sits at the intersection of psychology and anthropology. Her work focuses on how children develop and behave across diverse societies. Her primary fieldwork has been with the Shuar people of Amazonian Ecuador.

When she's not exploring the impact of culture on the developing mind, Dorsa can be found going down Wikipedia rabbit-holes into a huge range of questions, from how ancient cultures understood astronomy and prehistoric examples of children's art to whether the placebo effect is influenced by our history of shamanism.

I think you'll agree, Dorsa has found the perfect home in The Garden, as part of the community for the curious!

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