Sabine Arnaud

Visiting Scholar
Max Planck Research Group
Ph.D., Professor HDR
November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017

Sabine Arnaud’s current research focuses on the instrumentalization of the question of deafness in the construction of various disciplines, and the study of conflicting new conceptions of the human and of normality/abnormality. Studying deafness from the seventeenth to the late nineteenth century, her project traces the crucial role that language has played in how we define humanity, and analyzes the many ways in which this relationship has been articulated (voice and sign language). The new research project follows the completion of a monograph on hysteria published by the Editions de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in January 2014, which won the « Prix d’histoire de la médecine » awarded by the French Society for the History of Medicine and the Academy of Medicine, the prize « Bourse Marcelle Blum » awarded by the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, and the prize for young historians by the International Academy of the History of Science (granted unanimously). A version in English appeared with The University of Chicago Press in 2015 as On Hysteria: The Invention of a Medical Category (1670-1820). Sabine Arnaud is a member of the editorial board of the journal History of Human Sciences, published by Sage.

A U.S. doctorate in Comparative Literature (City University of New York) in cotutelle with a French thesis in History and Civilizations (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) and graduate theses in Philosophy and Art History (Paris VIII-Vincennes-Saint Denis) have guided Sabine Arnaud’s approach to visual and textual documents. She has been a Max Planck Research Group director since November 2010.

Before joining the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Sabine Arnaud was an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. Her research on hysteria has previously been supported by a Milton Brown Dissertation Fellowship and fellowships from the New York Academy of Medicine, the Société Internationale d’Etude des Femmes de l’Ancien Régime, the Countway Library of Harvard University, the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University, the Institute for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, and The Institute for the Medical Humanities of The University of Texas.


Current work:

The Writing of Deafness and the Construction of Norms in France and Italy (1700-1914)


Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin
“The Medical Appropriation of Deafness and the Redefinition of Other Fields of Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century France and Italy”
Departmental Colloquium, Department II, MPIWG
“Audism, Phonocentrism, and Articulation Techniques in Seventeenth- to Nineteenth-Century Europe”
Sorbonne-Paris I, Séminaire Foucault de Jean-François Braunstein
“De la disciplinarisation des savoirs, enjeux et perspectives de recherche”
Richardson History of Psychiatry Research Seminar, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York
“The 'Curable Abnormal' - a Perfect Object for Fields of Knowledge in Construction (France, Italy, England)”
Sorbonne-Paris 3
“Audism and Articulation techniques in Seventeenth- to Eighteenth-century England”
Teaching activities
Spring 2010
The Institute for the Medical Humanities, The University of Texas Medical BranchThe Establishment of Medicine and The Construction of a Medical Category From 1670 to 1830: Hysteria in France and England
Summer 2009
Humboldt-Universität, Institut für Germanistik, Department of Medienanalyse (with Rupert Gaderer) Literatur, Naturwissenschaften und Medizin um 1800