Membranous Things

Membranous Things: An Archeology of the Nerve Cell, 1920–60

Max Stadler

This project concerned a material history of the excitable cell in the twentieth century. Its central aim was to show that this cell was not only central to shaping biological science in the twentieth century, but also that it can be encountered at very mundane, unexpected, and indeed unbiological, places: the cellular life whose history this project unearthed was mediated by a fabric that was not living, organic, and natural, but fabricated, processed, and made-up, and hence known, controlled, and transparent: things—ersatz-objects—ranging from soap films to electrical circuits to calculation machines. The project involved several workshops at the MPIWG.

  • “The Neuromance of Cerebral History,” in: S. Choudhury and J. Slaby (eds.), Critical Neuroscience, Blackwell (2011).
  • “The Neurological Patient in History. A Commentary,” in: S. Casper and S. Jacyna (eds.), The Neurological Patient in History, Rochester University Press (2010).
  • “Models as ersatz-objects,” Scienza e filosofia (2010), pp. 43-58.