Brainwaves: A Cultural History of Electroencephalography: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Brainwaves: A Cultural History of Electroencephalography

1st Edition

By Cornelius Borck


334 pages | 51 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781472469441
pub: 2018-01-24
SAVE ~$30.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315569840
pub: 2018-01-29
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


In the history of brain research, the prospect of visualizing brain processes has continually awakened great expectations. In this study, Cornelius Borck focuses on a recording technique developed by the German physiologist Hans Berger to register electric brain currents; a technique that was expected to allow the brain to write in its own language, and which would reveal the way the brain worked. Borck traces the numerous contradictory interpretations of electroencephalography, from Berger’s experiments and his publication of the first human EEG in 1929, to its international proliferation and consolidation as a clinical diagnostic method in the mid-twentieth century. Borck's thesis is that the language of the brain takes on specific contours depending on the local investigative cultures, from whose conflicting views emerged a new scientific object: the electric brain.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Brain Waves Then and Now

  1. Electrifying Brain Images
  2. Hans Berger’s Long Path to the EEG
  3. Current in the Head

    Research Strategies of a Conservative Psychiatrist

    The Measure of Psychic Energy

    The Course to Current

    Amplified Oscillations

    Artefacts and Noise

    Invitation to Stockholm

  4. Electrotechniques of the Live Mind
  5. Cultural Currents 1918–1933

    The Bioengineer and Psychodiagnostics

    Nerve Apparatus and Psychic Circuits

    Thought Rays and Radio-Telepathy

    Configurations of Electrotherapy in the Radio Age

    Poetics of New Objectivity in Brain Script

    The Experimentalization of Daily Life

  6. Terra nova: Contexts of Electroencephalographic Explorations
  7. Epistemic Resonances and Material Cultures

    Berger’s Further Voyage through Brain Waves

    Local Appointment in Buch near Berlin

    Acknowledgment with British Understatement

    The Leap over the Pond

    The Matrix of the Waves

  8. Set to and Survey Much!
  9. On the Cultural Practice of a New Technology

    Dynamics of Standardization

    A Diagnostic Panopticon

    Under the Shock Spell

    The Electrical Brain at Auschwitz

  10. Designing, Tinkering, Thinking

What’s Hidden inside the EEG?

Rapid Vibrations of Thought

The Concert of Cerebral Currents

A German Physiologist’s Lofty Flights

The Brain as a Cybernetic Machine

Brain Theories out of the Model Building-Block Box

Conclusion - Plea for an Open Epistemology

About the Author

Cornelius Borck is Professor of History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine and Science and Director of the Institute of History of Medicine and Science Studies at the University of Luebeck, Germany.

About the Series

Science, Technology and Culture, 1700-1945

Science, Technology and Culture, 1700-1945 focuses on the social, cultural, industrial and economic contexts of science and technology from the ‘scientific revolution’ up to the Second World War. Publishing lively, original, innovative research across a broad spectrum of subjects and genres by an international list of authors, the series has a global compass that concerns the development of modern science in all regions of the world. Subjects may range from close studies of particular sciences and problems to cultural and social histories of science, technology and biomedicine; accounts of scientific travel and exploration; transnational histories of scientific and technological change; monographs examining instruments, their makers and users; the material and visual cultures of science; contextual studies of institutions and of individual scientists, engineers and popularizers of science; and well-edited volumes of essays on themes in the field.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Modern / General