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Neurological Imaginaries

Photo credit: Neurone development, artwork by Stephen Magrath. Credit: Stephen Magrath.

My newest project, Neurological Imaginaries bridges my interest in both arts-based ethnography and medical sciences as an experimental ethnography that encompasses non-textual forms, creative nonfiction, and affect theory to explore traumatic brain injuries and memory disturbances.

This research is funded by a Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research award and a Social Science and Humanities Research Council IDG and IG grants. 

Other funding: 

Situated Neurology: An ethnographic study of neurology in Kenya, Dahdaleh Institute Seed Grant for Critical Social Science Perspectives in Global Health Research, $5000. (May 2021)

Multimodal work

Connections: Bringing Neuroscience and Art together, Online Exhibit and Ebook, with Michelle Charette and Helen Charette

Sensate Memories, Multimodal Ethnography Roundtable, August 13, 2020.

Publications / Papers

Manuscript in Process. with Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Havana Syndrome: Political imagination and Sonic Fictions. 

M. Charette and D. Elliott Forthcoming Sensing the Afterlife: Multisensorial ethnography and injured minds. In the Handbook of Sensory Ethnography, edited by P. Vannini. 

2022 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. 

M. Charette, L. Lima, and D. Elliott, 2022 Sonic stories, sensory ethnography, and listening with an injured mind, Multimodality and Society 2(2): TBD


2022. The Memory Multiverse: Existential ruptures, familiar faces and injured minds, Special Issue – Madness, edited by Baptiste Moutaud, Terrain, March 2022.

2022 La Mémoire Multivers: Ruptures Existentielles, Visages Familiers et Lēsion Cérébrale. Terrain 76:113-129.

with Michelle Charette, A magic encyclopaedia: Time, memory and trauma, Uncommon Senses III, Sensory Ethnography Conference, Montreal, May 6-9, 2021.

Sonic art, brain injury, and intimate ethnography: A review of Reassembled, Slightly AskewAnthropologica 63(1), 2021. 

Staying in the field: Living arrangements, violence, and the female anthropologist. In Fieldwork Stories: Experiences, Affect, and the Lessons of Anthropology in the 21stCentury, edited by Ida Fadzillah and Will Leggett. Lexington Press (2021).

Neurological Disturbances and Time Travel. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience (2019).

Art, Neuroscience and Ethnography, Platypus, CASTAC, October 2, 2018

Affective Science, or the Sad Brain, Imaginings Series - Affect, Centre for Imaginative Ethnography, 2014

Neurological disturbances and time travel, Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) annual meeting, Santiago, Cuba, May 17, 2018


A forgetful ethnography, Colleex Workshop, Collaboratory for Ethnographic Experimentation, Lisbon, Portugal, July 13-15, 2017


An Ethnography of Invisibility: Neuro-Medicine and Felt Theory, Affective Evidence, AAA, Minneapolis, November 17, 2017


An ethnography of invisibility? African Neuroscience, memory and feeling, Technoscience Salon, York University / University of Toronto, October 10, 2014



“Neurological Imaginaries” Series seeks to bring neuroscientists, anthropologists, and artists together in an interdisciplinary conversation to discuss epistemological tensions within traumatic brain injury care.

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