Circulation – Selection – Exclusion: Brain Research between Habsburg Austria, the Japanese Empire, and Colonial Korea
When, in 1900, several Japanese scholars started to work in one of the world’s first neurological laboratories in Vienna, the global trajectories of this novel knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system seemed unpredictable. Via an extensive Austrian-Japanese network, flows of knowledge coursed through various political settings, from the declining Habsburg Monarchy to the rising Empire of Japan and colonial Korea. Within this framework, Leitner considers differing accounts of neuroanatomical research, focusing on topics of race and gender. The project aims to uncover a previously unknown episode in the transnational history of science by tracing the colonial imprint of neuroanatomy and psychiatry in Austria, Japan, and Japanese-ruled Korea from 1900 to the 1930s. This will contribute to our understanding of processes of translation, circulation, selection, and exclusion of scientific knowledge in diverse institutional, political, and cultural contexts.
Bernhard Leitner studied Japanese Studies and Philosophy at the University of Vienna and Tokyo Metropolitan University. He completed his Ph.D. dissertation on cooperation in psychiatry and neurology between the Universities of Vienna and Tokyo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries at the University of Vienna. He was a Toshiba Foundation Fellow, Junior Fellow at the IFK, and has held visiting fellowships in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University and at the Friedrich Schiedel Chair in Sociology of Sciences at the Technical University of Munich. First in Cambridge at the Needham Research Institute and now at the IFK in Vienna, he is developing a postdoctoral research project on colonial legacies of medical research in East Asia, following the trajectories of knowledge and practices circulating between Austria, Japan, and Korea in the twentieth century.
»A Nobleman of Neurology meets a Father of Psychiatry. Viennese Neurological Networks in the Making of Psychiatric Elites in Japan«, in: Aleksandra Kobiljski, Nicolas Fieve (Hg.), Professional Elites of Modern Japan, Paris 2022 [im Erscheinen]; »Psychiatrie und Neurologie zwischen Wien und Tokyo. Zur Rolle eines transnationalen Netzwerkes in der Entwicklung der akademischen Medizin in Japan circa 1900«, in: Daniela Angetter et al (Hg.), Strukturen und Netzwerke. Medizin und Wissenschaft in Wien 1848–1955, Göttingen: Vienna, University Press 2018, S. 533–554; »Zum Transfer von Psychiatrie: Narrative, Termini und transkulturelle Psychiatrie in Japan«, in: NTM Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Technik und Medizin, Vol. 22:3, 2014, S. 163–180.
Am Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts wurden am Wiener Neurologischen Institut detaillierte Analysen menschlicher Gehirne durchgeführt, die verbreitete sexistische und rassistische Lehrmeinungen der europäischen akademischen Welt herausforderten. Aber wie wird die Wissenschaft am anderen Ende der Welt, in Japan, darauf reagieren?